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AK Steel among steel giants objecting to metal tariff exemption requests

AK Steel is one of several American steel manufacturers that have successfully objected to hundreds of requests by American companies that buy foreign steel to exempt themselves from President Trump’s stiff metal tariffs.

The New York Times reported West Chester Twp.-based AK Steel is one of three steel manufacturers that have successfully objected to hundreds of requests to the Commerce Department. They have argued that the imported products are readily available from American steel manufacturers.

Since May, companies have filed more than 20,000 requests for steel tariff exemptions. As of the end of July, the Commerce Department had denied 639 requests, the New York Times reported.

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The newspaper reported half of those denials came in cases where United States Steel, Nucor or AK Steel filed an objection. To date, their efforts have never failed, resulting in denials for companies that are based in the U.S. but rely on imported pipes, screws, wire and other foreign steel products for their supply chains, according to the New York Times.

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AK Steel employs 8,000 people in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota; the company has about 2,400 employees in Middletown and Butler County.

AK Steel is the only domestic supplier of electrical steel, a critical material used in the electrical grid. The electrical steel market has been volatile, with dumped and subsidized foreign imports nearly doubling in 2017 versus 2016, AK Steel CEO Roger Newport wrote in an opinion piece for this newspaper earlier this year.

“At AK Steel, we support President Trump for his bold recommendation that a global tariff on steel is necessary to defend our national security and combat the flood of imports that have been eroding America’s steel industry over several decades,” Newport said.

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“Conventional trade methods haven’t worked to address global over-capacity and foreign dumping. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that when you put a tariff on steel coming from one country, such as China, producers simply go around the law by routing the product through countries like Vietnam.”

Last year, foreign steel imports increased by 15 percent over the previous year, and captured 27 percent of the U.S. market share. Yet about one fourth of domestic steel capacity is not being utilized today, Newport said.

The entire New York Times report can be found HERE.

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