Steel Industry Wants Level Playing Field

Companies are concerned about implications of climate control legislation.

At the American Iron and Steel Institute's press conference held on May 4, Dan DiMicco, CEO of Nucor Corp., implored the U.S. government to not add additional burdens on domestic steelmakers who are facing one of the roughest times they have ever seen. Capacity as of April was 45% and shipments will be dramatically down this year as evidenced by the 13 million tons that were shipped in Q1. For 2008 domestic producers shipped 98 million tons.

DiMicco wants to make sure that pending legislation on Cap and Trade won't add taxes to the domestic steel industry and put them at a competitive disadvantage. He notes that other producers face different policies and that companies such as his "can't compete against governments."

James L. Wainscott, CEO of AK Steel Corp and AISI Chairman expressed his concern about implications of the U.S. climate policy. "Its clear to me that, if we don't get our climate policy right, we face the prospect of ceding another huge segment of America's industrial prowess to the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. And that would mean further loss of our manufacturing jobs."

Ward J. "Tim" Timken, chairman of The Timken Co. voiced his concern that legislative solutions must address the huge increase in costs that energy intensive industries will face as the U.S. seeks to reduce CO2 emissions. He said there needs to be allowances for these costs.

"It is a known fact that countries like China will not adopt measures to curb CO2 emissions as aggressively as we will, which will give them and other importers a tremendous competitive advantage. That is, unless U.S. climate policy provides offsets and border adjustment mechanisms to account for the cost burden placed on U.S. companies," explained Wainscott.

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