US Commerce outlines strategy to avoid future steel crisis

The US Commerce Department has announced a comprehensive strategy to guard against a recurrence of the 1998 steel crisis that took a heavy toll on the US steel industry.

This program was unveiled as part of a comprehensive report on the causes and effects of the 1998 steel import crisis. Last year President Clinton and Vice President Gore launched a Steel Action Program, which called for Commerce to examine market-distorting trade barriers and to develop a strategy to avoid similar crises in the future.

The 240-page Report to the President on Global Steel Trade: Structural Problems and Future Solutions identifies numerous factors that triggered the 1998 crisis, including the Asian financial crisis and currency depreciations.

It focuses on underlying long-term structural factors in key foreign steel producing countries which exacerbated the severity of the crisis. The US Department of Commerce concludes that the recovery of the domestic steel industry is ongoing, and therefore, careful attention needs to be paid in coming months to key indicators.

The complete report is available at www.ita.doc.gov