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

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, July 13, 1999 Published at 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK

Business: The Economy

US, Russia sign steel deal

Russia has agreed to limit its exports of steel and other metals to the United States over a five-year period, after Washington threatened to introduce quotas and punitive tariffs.

World trade wars
Meeting in Paris, the two sides signed an agreement, outlining in detail how much steel Russia is allowed to export in each year.

US Commerce Secretary William Daley said the agreement delivered "the administration's commitment to guarantee that surging imports do not threaten the livelihoods of communities and workers" around the United States.

During 1998 steel producers in Russia, Japan and Brazil captured a large share of the US market. US steel producers accused their rivals of "dumping" and called for the introduction of quotas.

Many industry analysts, though, say the success of foreign producers was triggered by the strong dollar, which made their products very cheap.

By signing the agreement, the Russian government has avoided a potential trade war with the United States.

Russia's Trade Minister Mikhail Fradkov said the accords were the result of a difficult compromise.

He added that the deal was aimed at lifting the threat of Russia being completely excluded from the US market, which could have cost Russia $1.5bn in export earnings over five years.

Late-night phone calls

The deal will reduce Russian shipments for hot-rolled steel by 64% this year compared to 1998.

The quotas will gradually rise over the following four years, climbing to a high of 725,000 metric tons in 2003.

According to US officials, this would still be well below the 1998 level of imports.

In return, US anti-dumping proceedings against Russian hot-rolled steel will be halted.

A second agreement sets quotas for 15 different types of Russian steel exports with a total volume of 2.7 million tonnes.

The deal was made after a marathon bargaining session. Final obstacles were overcome with the help of phone calls from Vice President Al Gore to Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin on Monday afternoon and again late Monday night.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

The Economy Contents

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