Steel exports fell by nearly one-tenth from March to April, though they remained above the April 2016 level.
The 9.6 percent monthly decline left exports at 857,582 net tons, 7.9 percent more than a year earlier.
Exports to Mexico decreased 10.3 percent to 333,923 net tons, which was 9.5 percent more than in the previous April, while exports to Canada slipped 2.8 percent to 434,364 net tons, almost 6 percent more than in the same month last year. Exports to the European Union plummeted more than 37 percent to 25,929 net tons. This, though, was still almost 39 percent more than in April 2016.
Despite the dip coming out of the first quarter, exports through the first four months of the year were up 10.3 percent compared to 2016 at 3.45 million net tons. Year-to-date exports to Mexico increased 16.2 percent to 1.38 million net tons, and exports to Canada from January to April grew by 5.5 percent to 1.68 million net tons. Exports to the European Union have spiked more than 54 percent so far this year to 116,461 net tons.
As the Department of Commerce completes its Section 232 investigation of steel imports, American officials who are considering imposing restrictions on those imports should remember that Newton’s Third Law can apply to trade, as well as physics: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Protectionist policies will almost certainly lead to retaliatory measures, which will mean significant declines in exports of steel, and most likely other goods, as well. Maintaining a free and responsible trading regime is in the long-term best interests of both importers and domestic manufacturers.
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