Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, June 22, 1999 Published at 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK


Business: The Economy

Setback for US steel makers

The flow of foreign steel has upset US steel makers

Fearing a trade war, the US Senate has refused to back a plan to impose quotas on the import of steel into the United States.

World trade wars
The steel industry had argued in favour of quotas to contain the amount of low-priced steel coming into the country and preserve jobs.

But the bill failed already in its early stages, during a vote on a technical measure, as senators approved to restrict the debate on the issue.

The steel industry managed to get only 42 senators on its side, 57 voted against.

Senate majority leader Trent Lott joined officials of the US government in arguing that the introduction of quotas could violate international trade agreements and cause a trade war.

The quota bill would "adversely affect our businesses and farmers who depend upon access to the international market", Mr Lott said.

Not every senator agreed. The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, William Roth, called the vote "important from the point of our steel industry and important from the standpoint of our American workers".

The calls for keeping imports in check date back to the global economic crisis in 1997 and 1998.

Then the rise of the US dollar and the decline of currencies like the Japanese yen, Brazil's real and the Russian rouble made it cheap for US consumers to buy steel from these countries.

US steel makers, though, have accused foreign steel mills of dumping.

Before the vote, hundreds of steel workers had demonstrated outside the US Capitol building, hoping to persuade the senators to root for them.

The quota bill would have imposed a maximum level of imports, based on the average levels in the three years before July 1997, when the currency and economic crisis began in Asia.

In March, the House of Representatives had passed the bill with a two-thirds majority, but President Bill Clinton threatened his veto should the Senate approve it as well.

Earlier this week, US Commerce Secretary William Daley had warned that steel quotas would violate international trade agreements.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


The Economy Contents


Relevant Stories

11 Jun 99 | The Economy
US-Japan steel war escalates

07 Jun 99 | The Company File
Steel industry plays hardball





In this section

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

Brown considers IMF job

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

No longer Liffe as we know it

The growing threat of internet fraud

House passes US budget

Online share dealing triples

Rate fears as sales soar

Brown's bulging war-chest

Oil reaches nine-year high

UK unemployment falls again

Trade talks deadlocked

US inflation still subdued

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Bank considered bigger rate rise

UK pay rising 'too fast'

Utilities face tough regulation

CBI's new chief named

US stocks hit highs after rate rise

US Fed raises rates

UK inflation creeps up

Row over the national shopping basket

Military airspace to be cut

TUC warns against following US

World growth accelerates

Union merger put in doubt

Japan's tentative economic recovery

EU fraud costs millions

CBI choice 'could wreck industrial relations'

WTO hails China deal

US business eyes Chinese market

Red tape task force

Websites and widgets

Guru predicts web surge

Malaysia's economy: The Sinatra Principle

Shell secures Iranian oil deal

Irish boom draws the Welsh

China deal to boost economy

US dream scenario continues

Japan's billion dollar spending spree