STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA – Part 2/2

What I discovered about Chinese steel may surprise you and free China of another popular Sinophobic American myth. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Evidently, this American Constitutional right does not apply to China or the Chinese.

From, I learned the U.S. produced about half of the world’s steel in 1945.

“After World War II,” said, “the U.S. steel industry faced increased competition from Japanese and European producers, who rebuilt and modernized their industries. Later, many Third World countries, such as Brazil, built their own steel industries, and large U.S. steelmakers faced increased competition from smaller, nonunion mills (“mini-mills”) that recycle scrap steel. …”

A recent CRS Report for the US Congress said, “China’s steel industry has grown significantly since the mid-1990s. China is now the world’s largest steelmaker and steel consumer. In 2009, China produced over 567 million tons of crude steel, nearly half of the world’s steel. That was 10 times the U.S. production.”

However, CRS reported, “The majority of Chinese steel has been used to meet domestic demand in China.”

Today, the United States is in third place while Japan is the second largest producer of steel. Source: Index

In fact, the United States steel industry exports steel to China. For example, in 2004, the US exported 8 million tons of steel to China up from 5 million tons in 2000 and by 2010, China was buying $34.5 billion in steel from countries such as the US, Australia, and Brazil to meet its domestic needs.

John Surma, president and CEO of US Steel Corp, said, “China generally has been good for our industry.”

Meanwhile, we learn from Qingfeng Zhang writing for Perspectives that the United States produces approximately 80% of its domestic steel demand…

In addition, the US imports finished steel products from a large number of countries. The EU has been the biggest exporter with about five-million tons shipped to the United States in 2001. Canada is the second largest exporter shipping four-million tons, followed by South Korea (2 million tons), Japan (1.8 million tons) and Mexico (1.5 million tons).

China does import steel to the US.  The US Department of Commerce reported, “U.S. imports from China represent a total of 4.9% (four “point” nine percent) of all U.S. steel imports.” In 2010, steel imports to the U.S. totaled 23.9 million tons while America produced nearly 88.5 million tons of steel between January and December 2010.

You do the math and decide, “Does the US depend on China for steel to meet domestic demand?”

Return to STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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5 Responses to STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA – Part 2/2

  1. Merlin says:

    Nice article. I dont know how japan got so high on steel manufacturing, but could it also be because they are highly technological and inventive?

    China is a mountainous region. I’m wondering if there’s going to be a future demand for Chinese steel and concrete. I read somewhere that when the economy here started to dwindle downwards, some investors turned to buying stock in small, cheap chinese cement companies. Their investment made big returns as China took the stage to host the Olympics and World Expo. Besides the major events, it seems that China’s modernization train has been upgraded from a slow train to a bullet train because I’ve never seen a country change so much in 1 year. Literally every month I spent there I could see the changes. Shanghai looked like a new city each day! When I first got there in Jan 2010, the subway at the train station was dark and metro 1 was separate from 3/4. Within a month they not only installed lighting, but even added new flooring and light up advertising signs. A few months after that, they linked metro 3/4 with 1. Metro 10 opened a few months later along with extending metro 2 to Pudong airport. When I left they were in the process of extending metro 11 to Xujiahui so one could literally hop on the metro from the bustling cetner of Xujiahui and ride all the way to Jiading or Huaqiao (near Kunshan) within possibly 2 hours. If they upgraded their trains to bullet trains similar to Hong Kong, it would greatly reduce metro time (although possibly increase fares).

    I’m still looking for a way to jump on the China train to grab some of the gold coming out of the engine.

    • Merlin,

      I recall reading that Japan bought scrap iron and steel from around the world and shipped that scrap to their mills in Japan. Today, Japan may also buy raw ore from other nations. Anyone may correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Japan used that scrap metal to build their navy, airforce, tanks, etc. that they used to fight World War II. Japan bought most of the scrap metal from the US and Europe and then shot it back at them and everyone else they attacked during WWII.

      Ironic. Sort of like the US and Europe buying Middle East Oil and some of the money that buys that oil ends up funding Islaimc terrorists that blow up Westerners–sort of like shooting yourself in the foot. Maybe both feet and a knee or two.

      • Aussie in China says:

        The famous Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies became known as ‘Pig-Iron Bob’ after a battle in 1939 with water-side workers who refused to load pig-iron onto ships destined for Japan.

        Previous to this, Australia had shipped large quantities of scrap iron to Japan most of which ended up as armanents used against us in WWII.

        The title of ‘Pig-Iron Bob’ stayed with Menzies till his death in 1978 and I can remember my parents and others always calling him that

      • Merlin says:

        It is an interesting strategy. Turning trash into gold is nice, but it’s easier to just shoot it out of a deck gun or turn it into a rickety suicide plane. Actually, the new military tech that is currently being tested and I think prepped for use on naval vessels is a rail gun which essentially takes random junk lying around and launches it at high speeds using magnetic coils.

        So I’m going to assume that Japan is having issues today (with the global economy on edge) because they import most of their stuff. I watched on english tv in China about Japan. It was like a travel channel kinda show because this guy ran around Japan showing off different things. One that I found really interesting is the Japanese govt is paying people to be farmers. Really one of the big issues of Japan is their rural population is so low that they cannot produce their own food. People end up eating unhealthy meals from restaurants in the cities which are imported or foreign fast food chains. Really it makes me want to move to Japan and work a farm. If only it were that easy, but the high cost of living and acquiring the needed papers are near impossible (not just me but the average American).

      • Merlin,

        Ironic, Japan pays people to be farmers and in the US, the federal government pays some farmers not to grow anything. God bless the good old USA that takes taxpayer money and has been giving it to farmers since the 1920s.

        In 2006, the Washington Post published this, “Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don’t Farm”

        Nationwide, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post.

        Some of them collect hundreds of thousands of dollars without planting a seed. Mary Anna Hudson, 87, from the River Oaks neighborhood in Houston, has received $191,000 over the past decade. For Houston surgeon Jimmy Frank Howell, the total was $490,709.

        Here’s more on the subject that was published in 2009

        “The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributes between $10 billion and $30 billion in cash subsidies to farmers and owners of farmland each year… Agriculture subsidies have never made economic sense, but since the 1930s farmers have resisted reductions to subsidies, and they have generally held sway in Congress. While farmers represent a smaller share of the population today than in the 1930s, the farm lobby is as strong as ever… In 2008, Congress overrode a presidential veto to enact farm legislation that extended existing supports and created new subsidy programs. The legislation added a “permanent disaster” program for areas often hit by adverse conditions, and it added a revenue protection program designed to lock in 2008’s high commodity prices… USDA conservation programs dispense about $3 billion annually to the nation’s farmers. The largest conservation subsidy program is the Conservation Reserve Program, which was created in 1985 to idle millions of acres of farmland. Under CRP, farmers are paid not to grow crops, but to cultivate ground cover such as grass or trees on retired acres. A large share of land idled under the CRP is owned by retired farmers, thus one does not even have to be a working farmer to get these subsidies.”

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