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Steel imports trouble officials

Steel imports into the United States were down slightly in October, but remain a concern of domestic steel officials. Total steel imports in October were 3.8 million net tons, a 2 percent decline from September, according to the American Iron and...

Steel imports into the United States were down slightly in October, but remain a concern of domestic steel officials.

Total steel imports in October were 3.8 million net tons, a 2 percent decline from September, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Of the 3.8 million net tons, 3 million net tons were finished steel.

Year-to-date totals for finished and unfinished steel are up 45 percent and 46 percent, according to the institute.

For the year, total steel imports into the United States could reach a record 46.5 million net tons, including a record 36.8 million net tons of finished steel.

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In 1998, steel import records of 41.5 million net tons and 34.7 million net tons were set.

According to an institute news release, Asian countries that have a history of unfair trading, including Thailand, China and South Korea, have been among the largest steel exporters to the United States this year.

China was the single largest exporter of steel to the United States in October with 596,000 net tons. Chinese steel imports were 338 percent higher in October 2006 than October 2005.

For the year, steel imports from China are projected to exceed 5 million tons.

Steel imports from Russia are up 106 percent compared with last year.

The surge of steel imports is not in the best long-term interest of the world trade system or market-based American steel producers, said Andrew Sharkey III, an institute official.

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