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Steel Users Prepare for Higher Prices After Bush Tariff- "We Feel Let Down"
Grand Rapids Press ^ | 3/8/02

Posted on 03/08/2002 6:02:50 AM PST by 11th Earl of Mar

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Steel users brace themselves for higher prices

Thursday, March 07, 2002By Barbara Wieland
The Grand Rapids Press


Steelcase Inc. chose its name for a reason.

The country's largest furniture manufacturer goes through more than 200,000 tons of steel a year, said Brian Van Dommelen, leader of corporate steel services for the Grand Rapids-based company.

Steel is the single largest commodity the company buys.

So it is no wonder that Steelcase has turned a wary eye toward the tariffs President George Bush recently slapped on imported steel.

The tariffs, ranging from 8 percent to 30 percent, could have a major impact on Steelcase's business. But how much of an impact remains to be seen, Van Dommelen said.

Other steel users in the area also wonder how the tariff decision will affect business. Some have already seen steel prices increase.

Others worry that foreign steel producers will shy away from the American market, causing a steel shortage.

Part of the steel users' uncertainty rests on the complexity of the tariff decision. Some steel products will be exempt from the tariffs while others will see large price increases.

And it is too soon to know how steel manufacturers, both domestically and abroad, will respond to the tariffs.

Steel users may be unsure about future steel prices, but steel producers are not. Steel users such as Haworth Inc. and GR Spring &Stamping already see higher prices.

The tariff could increase steel prices 20 percent at Holland-based office-furniture maker Haworth, spokeswoman Beth Parenteau said. She said 20 percent of Haworth's yearly purchases are for steel, not including components bought from suppliers that include steel.

Steel prices have gone up at GR Spring &Stamping, too, President Jim Zawacki said. "Even before Bush made the decision, our suppliers started ripping up the contracts," he said. "They said they can't honor them anymore, that prices would go up."

Normally, GR Spring &Stamping signs one-year contracts that lock in steel prices. The company, which stamps out metal parts and makes springs, uses 20 million pounds of steel a year.

"We felt we've been let down," he said. "We didn't expect anything over 10 percent. This will raise our costs substantially."

That cost might be high enough to prompt some manufacturers to leave the country, said Andrew Samrick, executive vice president of Mill Steel Co. His Grand Rapids company buys steel in bulk and cuts it down to size for office furniture, automotive and appliance manufacturers.

Higher costs of production have induced some businesses to leave West Michigan before. That happened when LifeSavers decided to leave Holland for cheaper sugar prices in Canada, he said. Now, both Canada and Mexico might have cheaper steel than the United States.

"With higher steel pricing, we'd expect those places to become far more enticing," he said.

Samrick hasn't heard any local companies talk about leaving, but the topic has come up in industry trade association talks.

"What could be done to prevent that happening? I honestly don't know," he said.

Another steel distributor, Anderson Metal Service in Grand Rapids, thinks the tariff decision could further hurt the ailing tool and die industry. Anderson Metal sells steel to local tool and die shops, which make the dies manufacturers use to stamp out metal parts.

Even before the tariff decision, many manufacturers were lured by cheaper prices offered by overseas tool and die shops. Now that the steel used by American tool shops will be higher, more manufacturers could opt to send their business abroad.

Dan Anderson, president of Anderson Metal, also thinks the tariffs could lead to steel shortages.

"There could be fewer foreign steel makers willing to sell to the U.S.," he said. "There's been talk about the possibility of steel allocations, where (steel) mills dictate how much steel is available to any company."

Those shortages could push steel prices up even further, he said.

It's still too soon to know if any of those scenarios will become reality, Anderson said. But it's something he and other steel users will watch in the weeks to come.

"We'll have to wait to see how far-reaching it will be," he said.

Press Reporter Rob Kirkbride contributed to this report.



© 2002 Grand Rapids Press. Used with permission
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TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: michaeldobbs; willielogic
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1 posted on 03/08/2002 6:02:50 AM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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To: 11th Earl of Mar
This move by Bush was 100% political. He knows the only reason he won Democrat West VA (and the election) was because Willie Jeff refused to impose the tariff. They punished Gore because of it.
2 posted on 03/08/2002 6:27:58 AM PST by GuillermoX
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To: GuillermoX
Possibly, but I think that the sore-losers position on gun control and mining had a hand in him losing that state as well.
3 posted on 03/08/2002 8:30:21 AM PST by Orangedog
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To: 11th Earl of Mar
"We felt we've been let down," he said.

I hear ya pal.

Political payola, out of my pocket, for the corrupt socialist unions.

Thanks, Bush.

4 posted on 03/08/2002 8:34:09 AM PST by dead
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: jamesbond
It is confusing, isn't it?

No tariffs, manufacturers leave.

Tariffs, manufacturers leave.

Looks like they're gonna leave no matter what.

6 posted on 03/08/2002 8:46:39 AM PST by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
Recommended reading for those who are confused as to why tariffs are bad:

Basic Economics by Dr. Thomas Sowell

7 posted on 03/08/2002 9:04:51 AM PST by thmiley
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To: Orangedog
I doubt it, because slick won it in 92 and 96 and dukakis won in 88.
8 posted on 03/08/2002 10:13:32 AM PST by GuillermoX
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To: jamesbond
Today, right now, almost 90% of steel consumed in the USA is made domestically.

If you don't think there is manufacturing in the country, maybe you ought to take a second look.

9 posted on 03/08/2002 10:14:55 AM PST by GuillermoX
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Bush's action's are a step in the right direction, but still inadequate due to inconsistancy.

The optimal solution is a relatively low, across-the-board revenue tariff of 10-20% on ALL imported goods from ALL foreign countries.

"Targeted" tariffs have the disadvantage of providing loopholes and, as others will be quick to point out, the potential to hurt other domestic industries.

A prime example is our failed embargo on the importation of Cuban goods. Cuban sugar has been routinely imported to the U.S. through the back door: Canada. Cuban sugar is shipped to Canada where it is dissolved in molasass. "Canadian" molasass is then legally imported to the U.S. where the sugar is easily refined back out. The leftover molasass is then exported back to Canada where the cycle is repeated. Large sugar-users (such as candy makers) are also closing their domestic factories and moving to Canada where they can legally use Cuban sugar, then import it as candy to the U.S.

An across-the-board revenue tariff of 10-20% would circumvent this type of abuse. Additionally, the revenue could be used to offset a major reduction or elimination of the corporate income tax, providing domestic producers a more "level playing field". (A Proposal to Abolish the Corporate Income Tax)

From a historical perspective, a revenue tariff of 10-20% is NOT excessive:


10 posted on 03/08/2002 10:17:48 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: *"Free" Trade
Check the Bump List folders for articles related to and descriptions of the above topic(s) or for other topics of interest.
11 posted on 03/08/2002 12:13:54 PM PST by Free the USA
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To: Willie Green
"Suppose that, for whatever reason, Japan decided to subsidize steel very heavily. If no additional tariffs or quotas were imposed, imports of steel into the United States would go up sharply. That would drive down the price of steel in the United States and force steel producers to cut their output, causing unemployment in the steel industry. On the other hand, products made of steel could be purchased more cheaply. Buyers of such products would have extra money to spend on other things. The demand for other items would go up, as would employment in enterprises producing those items. Of course, it would take time to absorb the now unemployed steelworkers. However, to balance that effect, workers in other industries who had been unemployed would find jobs available. There need be no net loss of employment, and there would be a gain in output because workers no longer needed to produce steel would be available to produce something else."

Though the Friedmans admit that unfair trade practices of other nations hurt us, they show that they hurt the offending nations as well. But more to the point, if we retaliate, we just harm ourselves more, not to mention prompting additional retaliation from other nations.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/dl20020309.shtml

David Limbaugh quoting Milton and Rose Friedman. What do you think Willie? How are they wrong?

12 posted on 03/09/2002 6:35:29 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
David Limbaugh quoting Milton and Rose Friedman. What do you think Willie? How are they wrong?

It's a great way to undermine our national security that was unavailable to Tojo.

13 posted on 03/09/2002 8:15:14 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
It's a great way to undermine our national security that was unavailable to Tojo.

Quoting the Friedmans undermines national security?

14 posted on 03/09/2002 9:03:04 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: jamesbond
the loss of manufacturing has been due to the so-called free trade agreements.

No. The IRS, the EPA, OSHA and the unions killed manufacturing jobs in America.

I was a steel worker and in the union right out of HS. Kids were making $75 a day in 1971 for a 6 to 7 hour shift. That $75 has the purchasing power of $328.99 today. The industry is notorious for having no gains in productivey to match the increaes in labor costs. The machine I worked on was built in 1915 to help fight the Kaiser. The tax code is to blame for that, USS did better putting the money in the bank than upgrading equipment.

15 posted on 03/09/2002 9:10:58 AM PST by LarryLied
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Quoting the Friedmans undermines national security?

Feigning ignorance doesn't mask stupidity.

16 posted on 03/09/2002 9:18:54 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Feigning ignorance doesn't mask stupidity

Speak slowly, I'm a conservative.

Damn that Tojo. Undermining our security by selling us cheap steel. Oh the humanity.

17 posted on 03/09/2002 9:41:33 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Speak slowly, I'm a conservative.

Conservatives are usually better educated.

Do a Web search on "Tojo", "Pearl Harbor" and "scrap steel".

You might actually learn something that'll enable you to avoid making an @$$ out of yourself.

18 posted on 03/09/2002 10:03:18 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Your first post said...

It's a great way to undermine our national security that was unavailable to Tojo.

Then you told me...

Do a Web search on "Tojo", "Pearl Harbor" and "scrap steel".

So I found this... In July 1940, Roosevelt began his program of economic warfare by embargoing strategic goods. In September, he prohibited exports of iron and scrap steel to Japan. In June 1941, he restricted oil shipments.

So I guess that allowing Japan to sell us cheap steel will lead them to drive all our mills out of business.

Then, they will cut off the supply and bring us to our knees?

I just want to be clear on your point. Is that it?

19 posted on 03/09/2002 10:18:42 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Then, they will cut off the supply and bring us to our knees?

Much the same way OPEC jerks us around on oil.
Yes, that's part of the scenario.

20 posted on 03/09/2002 10:22:49 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Much the same way OPEC jerks us around on oil.

Yes, that's part of the scenario.

So, the fact that there are dozens of countries that would love to sell us steel if Japan cut us off doesn't change your mind about the impact this would have on the country?

21 posted on 03/09/2002 10:26:30 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
So, the fact that there are dozens of countries that would love to sell us steel if Japan cut us off doesn't change your mind about the impact this would have on the country?

OPEC has 11 member nations and does not control the total supply of oil that we import.

It takes far less than being "cut" off to have severe economic impact on our nation.

22 posted on 03/09/2002 10:43:50 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
It takes far less than being "cut" off to have severe economic impact on our nation.

Agreed. Now, what would that impact be?

23 posted on 03/09/2002 10:45:00 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: 11th Earl of Mar
Steel Users Prepare for Higher Prices After Bush Tariff- "We Feel Let Down"

Imagine how let down they would feel if we wouldn't do anything to save our steel producing capacity and 5 years down the road, Chinese tanks go rumbling through Michigan because our fair weather foreign friends suddenly decided to quit selling us steel.

24 posted on 03/09/2002 10:48:51 AM PST by #3Fan
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To: #3Fan
Imagine how let down they would feel if we wouldn't do anything to save our steel producing capacity and 5 years down the road, Chinese tanks go rumbling through Michigan because our fair weather foreign friends suddenly decided to quit selling us steel.

Yeah and you know how hard it would be for us to start producing steel again.

25 posted on 03/09/2002 10:56:21 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Yeah and you know how hard it would be for us to start producing steel again.

It takes lines of supply and expertise to go into a manufacturing project. If it's so easy to just jump into an industry, why didn't the Taliban suddenly start producing a tank for every tallywacker when they knew we were on our way? A nation of restaurant owners and park administrators (that's what the liberals want America to be, a 3 million square mile park), etc. just aren't going to be able to jump back into the steel industry years after it was abandoned.

26 posted on 03/09/2002 11:04:32 AM PST by #3Fan
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To: #3Fan
It takes lines of supply and expertise to go into a manufacturing project

Yes. And customers. Our fair weather friends won't stop selling steel to us. Their governments waste too much money subsidising their steel industry to turn away customers with cash.

27 posted on 03/09/2002 11:19:08 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Agreed. Now, what would that impact be?

Devastating. Steel is used thoughout our economy, whether for manufacturing or construction.

Yeah and you know how hard it would be for us to start producing steel again.

Very difficult. Steel production requires a complex infrastructure of expertise and supply lines for raw materials, equipment, etc. etc. It is also a very capital intensive industry that would require enormous investment to resurrect if allowed to collapse.

28 posted on 03/09/2002 11:26:27 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Yes. And customers. Our fair weather friends won't stop selling steel to us.

The liberal "chattering classes" most certainly will talk their countries out of saving America if we can't save ourselves.

29 posted on 03/09/2002 11:42:55 AM PST by #3Fan
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To: Willie Green
#3Fan: "It takes lines of supply and expertise to go into a manufacturing project."

Willie Green: "Steel production requires a complex infrastructure of expertise and supply lines for raw materials, equipment, etc. etc. "

Woe is the day my posts begin to look exactly like yours. LOL

30 posted on 03/09/2002 11:45:12 AM PST by #3Fan
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To: #3Fan
I'm becoming a good influence on you!!!
31 posted on 03/09/2002 11:57:37 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Devastating. Steel is used thoughout our economy, whether for manufacturing or construction

Devastating how? Be more specific.

32 posted on 03/09/2002 12:47:02 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: GuillermoX
Today, right now, almost 90% of steel consumed in the USA is made domestically.

This is exactly why the EU, Japan, et al are so po'd and rightfully so. They have been accused of harming the US Steel industry by dumping their products in the US, but steel exports from these nations has decreased, not increased.

Also, it appears that Bush will harm American poultry farmers with his decision to protect the Steel industry, since Russia, presumably, has imposed tariffs on American poultry; Russia accounts for about 50% of American poultry exports.

33 posted on 03/09/2002 1:00:23 PM PST by Jeremy_Bentham
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Same as an oil shortage.
Prices skyrocket, commerce nosedives.
Ripples throughout our economy, nobody's immune.
34 posted on 03/09/2002 1:06:16 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Prices skyrocket, commerce nosedives. Ripples throughout our economy, nobody's immune.

OK. So if they raise our prices it's bad?

35 posted on 03/09/2002 1:10:12 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Go jerk somebody else off, you silly little #$%@$%@.
36 posted on 03/09/2002 1:16:34 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Prices skyrocket, commerce nosedives. Ripples throughout our economy, nobody's immune.

You were so close Willie. If they raise our prices it's bad. We agree. If we raise our prices it's good?

You lost me again.

37 posted on 03/09/2002 1:25:31 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Sounds plausible but it doesn't address one area of my concerns. If we permit other nations to subsidize their steel industries and take a rising share of our market to the extent that our domestic production declines, even ceases, don't we put ourselves into a situation analagous to our dependence on foreign petroleum? If our suppliers cut off the supplies, then what? Contrarily, it seems to be more prudent to reduce our dependence on the foreign supply of vital strategic goods -- steel among them. Perhaps the same argument wouldn't work for widgets, since we can become dependent on foreign-manufactured widgets without inviting an economic, geo-political squeeze from the supplier or suppliers.
38 posted on 03/09/2002 1:29:39 PM PST by Whilom
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To: Whilom
If we permit other nations to subsidize their steel industries and take a rising share of our market to the extent that our domestic production declines, even ceases, don't we put ourselves into a situation analagous to our dependence on foreign petroleum? If our suppliers cut off the supplies, then what?

I guess that could happen. I'll bet you big money it won't.

If other nations are subsidizing their steel industry they are basically taking money from their taxpayers and giving it to our steel consumers.

I say bring it on, sell us your stuff cheap. I don't see why we should follow their stupid example.

There is an enormous world glut in steel. There will always be someone to sell to us.

I wouldn't feel comfortable if 100% of our steel industry went bye-bye but if the old inefficient producers went away there would still be plenty of work for the smaller, more efficient mills.

We still produce the high end, value added steel products here. The stuff getting the tariffs is, if I understand correctly, mostly low-end cheap stuff.

39 posted on 03/09/2002 1:39:37 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot
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To: Whilom
The answer is yes we do. There is too much execss capacity in foreign markets but since they are not "free" markets the excess capacity does not go by the wayside, it gets supported by socialist governments.

The endgame would be OSEC and we would have to deal with another group of schmucks who price fix. Reagan understood it and so does Bush. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and anybody who claims this is calamitous should be able to flash back to the 80's and show you and I the global depression emanating from targeted tariffs.

And whats more, tariffs are constitutional.

40 posted on 03/09/2002 1:44:38 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: GuillermoX
almost 90% of steel consumed in the USA is made domestically.

The other side is that a lot of steel is recycled. It's not really consumed, just rented.

41 posted on 03/09/2002 1:45:54 PM PST by RightWhale
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To: Toddsterpatriot
How many manhours does it take to produce a ton of steel in America today?
42 posted on 03/09/2002 1:46:11 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: jwalsh07
How many manhours does it take to produce a ton of steel in America today?

2000 National Productivity of Steel Production
Country
Steel Production
(million metric tons)
Employment
(thousands)
Productivity
(tons/employee)
Australia
8.5
21
404
Austria
5.7
12
475
Belgium
11.6
20
580
Brazil
27.9
63
443
Canada
16.6
56
296
Finland
4.1
8
512
France
21.0
37
567
Germany
46.4
77
602
Italy
26.7
39
684
Japan
106.4
197
540
Luxembourg
2.6
4
650
Netherlands
5.7
12
475
South Korea
43.1
57
756
Spain
15.8
22
718
Sweden
5.2
13
400
United Kingdom
15.2
29
524
United States
101.5
151
672

43 posted on 03/09/2002 2:08:32 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Go jerk somebody else off, you silly little #$%@$%@.

Todd, Willie gets like that when you're smacking him over the head with his own box of rocks.

44 posted on 03/09/2002 2:09:24 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: Toddsterpatriot
If other nations are subsidizing their steel industry they are basically taking money from their taxpayers and giving it to our steel consumers.

I say bring it on, sell us your stuff cheap. I don't see why we should follow their stupid example.

These are the same people that defend farm subsidies. If the people of another nation did to our agriculture what we are doing to their steel, we might as well cut their government a direct check c/o the us taxpayer.

45 posted on 03/09/2002 2:11:12 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: jwalsh07
And whats more, tariffs are constitutional.

Constitutional, but unwise.

46 posted on 03/09/2002 2:12:03 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: VA Advogado
Actually, I agree with you mostly but in the case of an industry as base as steel, I think they can be called for.

I look at OPEC and I can easily imagine OSEC and I don't like the looks of either one.

What were the results ofReagans tariffs in the early 80's? That is a precedent for what Bush is doing.

Do you ride a Harley?

47 posted on 03/09/2002 2:19:01 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Willie Green
Thanks Willie, its what I expected, except for Italy, that surprised me.
48 posted on 03/09/2002 2:20:55 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: jwalsh07
I imagine Italy must've implemented modern, scrap-recycling mini-mills. As I recall when researching data for this chart last fall, mini-mills like Nucor are up over 1000 tons/employee. Large integrated mills are naturally lower since they process from ore.

(I just noticed that the links to the data are out-of-date.
It's still available at the site, just in a different subdirectory.
I'll have to remember to update that before I post the chart again.)

49 posted on 03/09/2002 2:35:01 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: RightWhale
So? A lot of foreign steel is recycled as well. Should be ban recycling because it "destroys jobs"?
50 posted on 03/09/2002 2:37:53 PM PST by GuillermoX
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