U.S. steel exports steady in April

Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Source: American Shipper

 Exports of steel from the United States were relatively steady in April despite fears of a looming trade war with the two largest buyers of American steel.
   U.S. steel exports ticked up 0.5 percent from the same month a year ago to 861,005 net tons, but slipped just under 1 percent compared with March, according to the latest figures from the American Institute for International Steel.
   Through the first four months of 2018, exports have fallen 2.5 percent year-over-year to 3.37 million net tons.
   AIIS warned, however, that a brewing tariff battle between the United States and its partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement — Canada and Mexico — could further dampen volumes as the year goes on.
   The association noted that more than half of U.S. steel exports so far this year — 1.73 million net tons — were purchased by Canada, while another one-third — 1.24 million net tons — went to Mexico.
   “Steel exports will likely be one of the first areas where the harsh consequences of the increased trade related conflict with our NAFTA partners will be seen,” AIIS said in a statement, citing President Donald Trump’s efforts to renegotiate the 24-year-old trilateral trade deal, the administration’s decision not to exempt Canada and Mexico from an “ill-advised” 25 percent tariff on steel imports and expected retaliatory measures, as well as the recent turmoil between Trump and other world leaders following a G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec.
   According to the association, these moves “will likely roil trade relations even more and result in retaliation by the two biggest purchasers of American steel, driving down exports from the United States.”
   In addition, AIIS said that if the recently announced Commerce Department investigation into the national security impacts of global automobile imports results in tariffs similar to those currently being placed on steel and aluminum, “steel tariffs will certainly not be the last harm that is done to American manufacturers and consumers by protectionism.”

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