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Why Domestic Manufacturing is Important Now More than Ever

on August 21, 2012

American manufacturing has a long history of a favorable, patriotic indication and a track record of top notch innovation. According to a recent poll, voters say that creating jobs, specifically in manufacturing, and strengthening manufacturing in the U.S., are top economic priorities.

In today’s global market, there are too many instances where the domestic industry has been decimated by unfairly traded imports—to the point where it is very tough for a domestic manufacturer to compete against products imported from other countries.

A recent report, Preparing for 21st Century Risks: Revitalizing American Manufacturing to Protect, Respond, and Recover, written by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Robert B. Stephan states:

“We are becoming too reliant on global suppliers (many of whom may not have our best interests at heart in a time of crisis), along with a highly complex and vulnerable global supply chain needed to bolster our weak points or come to our rescue in the midst of an emergency.”

The report, released by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) reflects on the importance of domestic steel products and materials as essential components of our nation’s critical infrastructure base.

“Having the domestic manufacturing capacity necessary to guarantee reliable access to sufficiently large quantities of a wide variety of safety-compliant steel products and materials when and where needed is a critical aspect of any post-disaster response and recovery effort.”

According to the AAM, the U.S. relies on foreign suppliers for everything from steel and cement to batteries and critical high-technology. China, for example, produced five times the amount of steel that U.S. companies did in 2008.

Protecting Our Domestic Operations

In an interview with Steel Orbis, JMC Steel Group President David Seeger said, “These trade laws exist for a reason, and without enforcement, our country’s manufacturing base does not stand a chance to survive. To some countries that want to cheat or avoid our laws, and think that it’s ‘OK’—that it’s ‘free trade.’ Well, I don’t define it that way.”

At JMC Steel Group, we know standard pipe imports have and will continue to play an important role in the U.S. market. Because of this belief, our company has played an active role in the pursuit of judicial and legislative resolution to anti-dumping duties. We believe that fairly traded imports are a vital part of our economic fabric, but manufactures need to compete on a level playing field.

JMC Steel Group’s Recent Pursuit of Fair Trade in North America

October 2011: JMC Steel Group filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions against circular-welded standard pipe from India, Oman, the UAE and Vietnam; the filing dramatically slowed US buyers’ and traders’ willingness to use domestic product.

May 2012: In response to Atlas Tube’s complaint to combat a continuous flood of low-priced Chinese pipe into Western Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency announced it was initiating investigations into the alleged injurious dumping and subsidizing of certain steel pipe piling, for deep foundation support applications, imported to Canada. This was done to protect Atlas’ manufacturing operations and safeguard the jobs of its employees from the injurious effect of this unfair pricing of Chinese-origin products.

The Agency found substantial dumping margins, ranging from 78.4 percent to 96.2 percent and additional subsidy amounts ranging from 8.2 percent to 13.9 percent on these imports. Provisional duties are now being applied to these goods. In the face of rising exports, some say it’s time for the U.S. to take a tougher stance on trade- rule violators. Just take a look at this Industry Week article on Free Trade, “Free Trade: Is it Time for a New Game Plan?

We think it’s time.

100% Made and Melted in America

At JMC Steel Group, we think distributors, contractors and engineers have enough to worry about without having to coordinate complex domestic content compliance issues. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), passed in 2009, raised the issue of domestic content to a new level, as industries scramble to ensure they are in compliance. The law states:

“[N]one of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the [ARRA] may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public  building or public work unless all of the iron, steel and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States.”

JMC Steel Group’s business divisions have the strength to deliver support to customers who supply products for ARRA funded projects. The new Homeland Security headquarters in Washington D.C. is a funded ARRA project where our fence, conduit, and elbows & couplings are used.

A positive outcome of this difficult environment is that we have learned how to stay lean and be innovative. We have positioned ourselves to not only be successful, but to be a leader in the manufacturing game.

For more information about the “Buy America — Recovery Act” provision, Section 1605 in Division A, and the interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), please go to