Steel imports inquiry

THE US launched a welter of anti-dumping investigations against steel imports yesterday in an attempt to head off protectionist legislation in Congress.

The American steel sector has been badly hurt by cheap imports because of the strong dollar and over-capacity abroad. The industry and the unions have solid representation in Congress and politicians have threatened to take matters into their own hands if the administration does not help. A proposed Bill would put quotas on imports, and could risk triggering a trade war. The Commerce Department announced investigations into sales of cold-rolled steel from Argentina, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela. The US Senate begins debating the Bill today. "This quota Bill could have very serious consequences, not only for our own economy [but] for those of other countries," said Commerce Secretary, William Daley.

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