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Concerns Grow Over Substantial Increase of Stainless Steel Imports -- Up 34% in Last Two Years

The Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) expressed growing concern over the substantial increase in imports of stainless steel bar. According to SSINA counsel David A. Hartquist, an international trade lawyer and a partner in the law firm of Kelley Drye & Warren, "Imports of stainless steel bar have reached historical levels in both 2011 and 2012, with the majority of the growth concentrated from four key exporters -- Italy, Taiwan, Germany, and India." Official U.S. government statistics indicate that imports of stainless steel bar increased from 108,690 tons in 2010 to 146,071 tons in 2012, or by 34 percent.

Domestic producers have recently requested and obtained new tariff statistical breakouts for stainless steel bar. These additional statistical breakouts have enabled the producers to examine import trends among various categories of stainless steel bar, including large diameter bar, austenitic bar, and remelted bar. These data have shown significant increases across the spectrum of stainless steel bar products.

The official U.S. government statistics indicate that the average unit values of imports declined by 6 percent between January-May 2012 and January-May 2013. Mr. Hartquist indicated that "The domestic producers' concerns are not only with the increase in volume of imports, but also with recent import price declines that are having a negative impact on the market. Domestic producers are assessing the situation to determine whether the trade laws are being violated by the aforementioned countries or other significant offshore suppliers of stainless steel bar."

Stainless steel bar and articles produced from stainless steel bar are used in applications in which the products' corrosion resistance, heat resistance, surface condition, appearance and finish are important. There are significant applications for stainless steel bar in the aerospace, automotive, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in marine applications and in pumps and connectors for fluid handling systems.

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