In April of 2017, the U.S. launched a national investigation into the security of steel imports and in 2018, a 25% tariff on steel was introduced in order to give American steel manufacturers a boost over foreign suppliers. While this began as a win for the steel industry, data released in early 2020 has shown that the steel tariffs have hurt steel manufacturers in the U.S., downstream. Many manufacturers and steel mills have had to make significant cutbacks.
At CSM Metal Decking, we do our best to support domestic manufacturers by keeping a majority of our inventory domestic. Currently, we are sourcing 100% domestic steel made by American labor in Arkansas for our metal deck production facility in Houston, Texas.
Domestic Coil from CSM Metal Deck
CSM Metal Decking, a division of CSM Products & Solutions, LLC, believes in supporting American companies and workers, and we back a number of U.S. steel mills, including:
Tariffs: A Band-Aid Solution
Because foreign imports of steel have traditionally been cheaper, the introduction of tariffs put U.S. steel mills in a more competitive position. Once the tariff was announced, many panicked buyers began to place orders of steel for fear of production or shipping interruptions.
This led to a huge boom for the steel industry. Annual industry profits were doubled, and the domestic steel price was the highest it had been in a decade. Steel jobs rose 9% from April 2017, when President Trump launched his investigation.
Unfortunately, this growth wasn’t built to last.
According to Tom Conway, the union head of United Steelworkers, “tariffs aren’t a long-term situation. They’re a band-aid”.
And Conway was exactly right.
Once the initial boom wore off, steel manufacturers began to suffer. After a peak in the Summer of 2019, steel production fell 20%, while jobs fell more than 10%, leading to an all-time low of 78,000.
The tariffs failed to address key issues within the steel industry: the global oversupply, and the inefficiencies in the U.S. steel industry. Christine McDaniel, a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, feels that “all this together paints a picture of these tariffs hurting the long-term competitiveness of U.S. steel”.
What to Consider When Ordering Metal Deck for Your Project
If you’re working on an industrial or commercial construction project that needs metal roof deck or form deck for concrete, it’ll be important to determine if you need domestic steel or other materials in your project.
Foreign steel imports have traditionally been cheaper, but if you’re using foreign materials the quality of the steel manufacturer always needs to be checked and verified. Not all foreign products are as high quality as what you can get locally in the U.S. from a domestic manufacturer.
Additionally, some deck projects on government buildings require domestic material. If your job requires domestic materials, make sure to make note of this requirement on any quote requests and orders.
To request a domestic coil, metal deck, composite deck, or form deck shipment from CSM Metal Deck, fill out our contact form.