Despite Shale Boom In Its Own Backyard, U.S. Steel Industry Losing Ground To Foreign Rivals

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Increasingly, it’s foreign steel makers enjoying the payoff from the shale boom.

An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows U.S. steel imports spiked 26 percent in the first three months of 2014. South Korea, China and India are flooding the U.S. market with steel tubes used in oil and gas production and selling them at below-market-rates.

United States Steel Corporation blames this trend for its idling of two mills in Texas and Pennsylvania this summer. Company spokeswoman Courtney Boone says its Ohio plant is also affected.

“In the last three years, we’ve made upwards of $200 million of investment to create a competitive advantage for Lorain," says Boone. "Unfortunately, because of the large quantity of unfairly traded tubular products and imports, the company’s not realizing the benefit.”

The pro-union Economic Policy Institute, estimates 34,000 steel jobs in Ohio are at risk if “dumping” continues.

Politicians and steel industry leaders alike are calling for greater enforcement of trade laws. But non-union steel companies also are calling for a more level playing field.

“And yes, that means you’re gonna have to put tariffs on the final products, and get them to understand that they can’t dump it here without penalty,” says Dan DiMicco, Chairman Emeritus at Nucor Corporation.

Meanwhile, U.S. Steel has filed suit against South Korea for alleged dumping.

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