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AIIS Newsletter | July-August 2017

Market Update and Steel Shorts The economy moved on from its usual first quarter doldrums to post growth of 2.6 percent during April to June, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Q1 growth has typically been a low outlier in recent years, and the economy started off 2017 with growth of just 1.2 percent. Some analysts had forecast expansion of as much as 3 percent for the second quarter, and while the economy did not quite reach that mark, 2.6 percent was still the second-highest quarterly growth in two years. “We continue to be range-bound with growth that is pretty modest compared with history,” the chief economist at Nationwide said. “Some quarters, such as this one, were a little above it, some are a little below it, but, really, if you look at the years in total, they’re not moving much from this 2 percent growth on average.” Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of all economic activity, grew at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent during the quarter, up from 1.2 percent during Q1, according to the BEA. Things appear to have slowed at the end of the second quarter, though, with consumer spending expanding by just 0.1 percent (non-annualized) in June. Job growth in June came in above expectations, with 220,000 positions created, but the unemployment rate still inched up to 4.4 percent after reaching a 16-year-low of 4.3 percent in May. The labor force participation rate rose a tenth of a point to 62.8 percent in June. Ten years ago, the rate was around 66 percent, but it has dipped fairly steadily...

Summer 2017 Market Update

The economy did not start off 2017 quite as slowly as initially estimated. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in June revised its measure of growth in the first quarter to an annualized rate of 1.4 percent, up from the 0.7 percent that the agency announced in April and the 1.2 percent estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in May. Despite the change, the BEA noted that “the general picture of economic growth remains the same.” The economy grew by 2.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2016. “The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected a downturn in private inventory investment, a deceleration in [personal consumption expenditures], and a downturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an upturn in exports, an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a deceleration in imports,” the BEA stated. Consumer spending typically drives growth, accounting for about 70 percent of all economic activity, and consumers did not do much driving from January to March. Spending increased by just 1.1 percent during the first quarter, according to the BEA, the worst performance since Q2 of 2013, but much better than the 0.3 percent growth that the agency initially estimated. Analysts are expecting a better second quarter, with some forecasting growth of as much as 3 percent. If this is to happen, consumers will have to boost their spending. After shrinking by a non-annualized rate of 0.3 percent in January and being flat in February, consumer spending, according to the BEA, jumped 0.6 percent in March before growth slowed to 0.2 percent in April and 0.1 percent in May. The Conference...

SECTION 232 AIIS Member Message

To: All Valued AIIS Members and 232 Fund Contributors From: John Foster, AIIS Board Chairman Date: July 12, 2017 FALLS CHURCH, VA – As part of our continuing commitment to keep you informed of developments surrounding the Section 232 investigation, we are forwarding the attached letter signed by 18 of the leading agriculture organizations in the United States to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The letter advises Secretary Ross that undermining the global trading system that keeps foreign markets open to U.S. exporters “…through an extraordinarily loose application of national security exceptions [in WTO rules] would be a short-sighted mistake.” We are forwarding this letter for three reasons. First, the farm and commodity groups that signed this letter represent a large and extremely important component of the American economy. The American Farm Bureau alone has over 6 million members. Second, we want to highlight the already large and growing unpopularity of this potentially detrimental protectionist initiative. From “day one,” AIIS has called attention to the accumulating promises of trade retaliation against United States exports, particularly in agriculture, if 232-based trade restrictions are imposed. Third, I want you to know that AIIS has ongoing communications with this group on how we can most effectively cooperate, and convey our strong shared concerns. It is now abundantly clear that it is the voice of the AIIS, as well as others, that continues to lead and to be heard on this issue within the Administration, as evidenced by the somewhat surprising and unexpected delays in completing the investigation phase of this process. Our objective remains to stress that no new protectionist actions are...

News from AIIS: May 2017 Steel Imports Press Release

MEDIA ALERT News from AIIS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 5, 2017 Alexandra Jopp Phone: 703.245.8079 jopp@aiis.org Falls Church, VA. July 5, 2017. Steel imports crept up 2.4 percent from April to May, and the monthly total was nearly one-fifth higher than a year earlier. The 3.4 million net tons of imports in May included 566,000 net tons from both Canada and Brazil, with imports from the latter country having spiked 77.2 percent from April and increased 18 percent from May 2016. The total from Canada was up 8.2 percent from the previous month and 11.7 percent from the previous May. Imports from the European Union totaled 477,000 net tons, a 14.1 percent decrease from April but a 26.2 percent increase from May of last year. Imports from South Korea totaled 329,000 net tons, a monthly increase of 3.1 percent but a decrease of 6.4 percent from a year earlier. Through the first five months of the year, imports were up 22.1 percent at 15.7 million net tons compared to the same time in 2016. That total included 2.7 million net tons from Canada (a 13.2 percent increase), 2.1 million net tons from Brazil (a 15.2 percent increase), 1.9 million net tons from the European Union (an 11.8 percent increase), and 1.5 million net tons from South Korea (a 3.1 percent decrease). Semifinished imports totaled 859,000 net tons in May, 8.9 percent higher than a year earlier. Year-to-date, semifinished imports were up 58.3 percent at 3.7 million net tons. The Department of Commerce is expected to release the findings of its Section 232 investigation of the impact of steel imports...

232 Hill Letters

Following our highly successful media policy briefing yesterday (June 20) on potential Section 232 steel trade restrictions at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, we sent the attached letters to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Congressional committees with jurisdiction over United States trade policy. AIIS Chairman John D. Foster participated in this event, which was also attended by Board member Dennis Rochford of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, a non-profit trade association serving port businesses throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. We will keep you fully apprised of developments and new actions regarding the section 232 and all related issues. AIIS 232 Senate Ltr 21 June 2017 AIIS 232 House Ltr 21 June 2017_1...

International steel group urges Ross to ‘re-open’ Section 232 steel hearing

The American Institute for International Steel, flanked by other steel-consuming industry groups, is calling on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to hold an additional public hearing on the department’s Section 232 investigation into the national security implications of steel imports. During a June 20 event in Washington, DC, executives from the downstream industry and an international trade lawyer argued that an additional hearing would allow for a deeper dive into the potential consequences of any trade restrictions resulting from the study… Inside US Trade 232 Article Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive, behind-the-scenes reporting on the reinvention of trade policy under the Trump administration....

AIIS Press Briefing, June 20, 2017 – Final Remarks

Dear AIIS Members and Subscribers: Great event yesterday and great job by all our speakers.  We had a full house and a great mix of reporters, industry representatives, government officials, embassy officials and others. I’ve attached some photos as well as the final remarks. We’ll upload the video from the event and send you a link to you over the next couple of days. Thanks! AIIS Team   John D. Foster Chairman, AIIS,  National Press Club Opening Remarks Remarks of Richard Chriss President, American Institute for International Steel The National Press Club Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Lewis Leibowitz, The Law Office of Lewis E. Leibowitz, AIIS Press Briefing, June 20, 2017 Statement of Robert M. Landry, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Port of New Orleans Hearing on the impact of Section 232 Safeguard Action on Certain Steel Products Wednesday May 24, 2017 Stuart Speyer President, Tennsco Corp. National Press Club Remarks, AIIS Press Briefing, June 20,...

MEDIA ALERT Invitation to Cover The 232 Steel Investigation: A Self-Initiated Threat to U.S. Economic Security U.S. steel supply chain voices—from ports to steel-using manufacturers—speak out about the potentially destructive impact of steel tariffs on their own economic viability. WHAT The 232 Steel Investigation: A Self-Initiated Threat to U.S. Economic Security WHEN Tuesday, June 20, 2017 2:00 – 3:00 PM (Media Registration: 1:45 PM) WHERE National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20045 WHO Leaders representing the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS), Ports, and Steel Consuming Manufacturers: • Richard Chriss: President, American Institute for International Steel • Bobby Landry: Chief Commercial Officer, Port of New Orleans • Lewis Leibowitz: International trade lawyer and CITAC Counsel • Stuart Speyer: President of Tennsco Corp., a family-owned manufacturer of quality storage products based in Dickson, TN Introductory Remarks by John D. Foster, Chairman of AIIS WHY The Trump Administration is investigating whether imported steel poses a “threat to U.S. national security.” The Section 232 trade law initiative is the first step toward fulfilling a campaign pledge to bolster U.S. steelworker jobs and steel producing companies through the increased use of protectionist trade barriers. But how will other elements of the steel supply chain be affected? And will closing American doors to foreign steel really strengthen the U.S. economy? The U.S. steel industry directly employs 142,000 American workers, compared to an estimated 6.5 million who are employed by steel-using manufacturers. From busy U.S. ports to small manufacturing operations making steel-based products, millions of Americans earn their livings from the vast U.S. steel supply chain. Hear straight from the...

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