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Imports, Technology, and the Success of the American Steel Industry

Treado, Carey Durkin (2004) Imports, Technology, and the Success of the American Steel Industry. [Industry Studies Working Paper:2004-02]



America’s concern over the international competitiveness of its traditional industries has recently focused on the fate of the American steel industry. Rising steel import levels, falling domestic prices, and a record number of mills declaring bankruptcy seemed to represent yet another case of declining American market power. The Bush administration implemented trade protection and urged the industry to consolidate in order to better face foreign competition. To a large extent, however, these protectionist measures may be unwarranted. The current American steel industry, in fact, represents a story of technological achievement and competitive success far more than a story of manufacturing capacity lost to cheap foreign imports. Advanced technology has been a major factor in the restructuring and competitiveness of the American steel industry, leading to changes in the workforce, raw material requirements, capital equipment, production scale, and geographic location of steel mills. This technology has been implemented in a host of new thin-slab mini-mills, which have proven capable of producing premium steel products in direct competition with the best of the traditional steel mills. This paper attempts to disentangle and assess the impact of both foreign and domestic competition on the flat-rolled steel industry by empirically testing a model that evaluates sources of injury to industry competitiveness. The analysis finds that, while rising import levels may have aggravated the decline of traditional steel production, domestic competition, represented by advanced mini-mill production methods, have had a more fundamental and long-term effect on the structure and competitiveness of the American steel industry.

Industry Studies Series #:2004-02
Item Type:Industry Studies Working Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords:industry studies, industry studies working paper, industry studies association, industry studies research
ID Code:44
Deposited By:Mr Robin Peterson
Deposited On:18 Feb 2010 13:54
Last Modified:07 Jun 2010 10:44

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