(NETWORK INDIANA) The latest numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute show the United States is importing less steel compared to last year. That may sound like a unfortunate statistic, but it’s actually good for Indiana.
Lisa Harrison with the institute said the steel and aluminum tariffs have discouraged steel producing countries like Turkey, Germany, and South Korea from exporting to the U.S, which means the nation has to rely more on it’s own steel producing capabilities.
“There has been a 21-percent decline in steel imports between April and August 2018,” Harrison said. “Because of the president’s trade action, we’re seeing more American steel companies invest in American workers. The important thing is more people are going back to work.”
It’s because there is a higher demand for domestic steel since less steel is being imported from foreign countries, which Harrison said was one of President Trump’s goals of the tariffs.
“The President’s stated goal was that capacity utilization for the American steel industry should get as high as 80-percent or higher,” Harrison said. “That’s the optimum place to be and we were at 79-percent last week.”
Harrison said before the tariffs were in place the U.S. was only using around 69-percent of its own steel and importing the rest.
The lower amount of imported steel is also particularly good news for Hoosier steel workers since Indiana is the highest steel producing state in the United States. In 2016, Indiana steel companies, like U.S. Steel in Gary, accounted for 27-percent of the steel produced in the U.S.