The United States is the world’s largest steel importer. In year-to-date2018 (through June), further referred to at YTD 2018, the U.S.
imported 16.2 million metric tons of steel, a decrease from 17.9 millionmetric tons in YTD 2017. U.S. imports in 2017 represented about 9percent of all steel imported globally, based on available data. The volume of U.S. steel imports in 2017 was more than 25 percent larger than that of the world’s second-largest importer, Germany. In value terms, steel represented just 1.2 percent of the total goods imported into the United States in 2017.The United States imported steel from more than 85 countries and territories in 2017. The 10 countries highlighted in the map below represent the top sources for U.S. imports of steel, with the U.S.receiving more than 760 thousand metric tons from each and together accounting for 77 percent of U.S. steel imports in 2017.
Steel Trade Balance
The United States deficit in steel products has persisted for over adecade. Since 2009, imports havereturned to average levels seen prior tothe 2008 global recession while exports have remained relatively flat in comparison, and the trade deficit has widened accordingly. Since their most recent low point, imports have grownby 192 percent between Q2 2009 and Q2 2018, while exports have increasedby 32 percent. In YTD 2018, the U.S.steel trade deficit amounted to –11.3
Import Volume, Value, and Product
In 2014, U.S. imports of steel products reached a near-record high of 40.3 million metric tons, only topped by the 41.3 million metric tons imported in 2006. Import levels fell from 2014 by 12 percent in 2015 and by 15 percent in 2016, before rising 15 percent in 2017 to 34.6 million metric tons. In YTD 2018, imports have decreased 9 percent compared to YTD 2017 to a total of 16.2 million metric
tons. The value of imports in YTD 2018 has increased 8% percent to $15.4 billion from $14.3 billion in YTD 2017, due to higher steel prices.
In YTD 2018, flat products accounted for the largest share of U.S. steel imports at 36 percent, or 5.8 million metric tons. Pipe and tube products accounted for 23 percent, or 3.7 million metric tons,by semi-finished products at 21 percent (3.4 million metric tons), long products at 17 percent (2.8 million metric tons), and stainless products at 3 percent (535 thousand metric tons).
Top Sources by Steel Product Category
The top source countries for U.S. imports by volume vary across types of steel products. The States imported the largest share of flat products from Canada in YTD 2018 at 34 percent about 2 million metric tons). Canada was also the largest source for long product imports at 23 percent (635 thousand metric tons).
The United States imported 25 percent of its pipe and tube imports from South Korea (902 thousand metric tons), while nearly half of the United States’ imports of semi-finished steel came from Brazil in YTD 2018 — a total of 1.5 million metric tons, or 45 percent. Taiwan was the largest source of imported stainless products at 12 percent (about 64 thousandmetric tons).
Trade Remedies in the Steel Sector
Antidumping duties (AD), countervailing duties (CVD), associated suspensionagreements, and safeguards are often referred to collectively as trade remedies. These are internationally agreed upon mechanisms to address the market-distorting effects of unfair trade, or serious injury or threat of serious injury caused by a surge in imports. Unlike anti-dumping and countervailing measures, safeguards donot require a finding of an “unfair” practice. Before applying these duties or measures, countries investigate allegations and can remedy or provide relief for the injury caused to a domestic industry. The table below provides statistics on the current number of trade remedies the United States has againstimports of steel mill products from various countries. The U.S. has no steel mill safeguards in effect.
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