Iron and Steel Overview: International Competition

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Modernization and a weaker dollar have made the U.S. industry very competitive on the world market today. The growth in steel capacity in developing countries, however, will limit export opportunities and create a constant threat of competition in the commodity markets. Imports, which reached an all time high in 1994, were driven by the sudden growth in steel demand created by the strong economy and will probably not be indicative of a long term trend for increased imports. One form of international competition that has increased is foreign investment in the U.S. steel industry. USX has joint ventures with Kobe of Japan and Pohang Steel of Korea. National mills are now principally owned by NKK of Japan. Armco created a joint venture with Kawasaki as the major partner. California Steel, formerly Kaiser Steel, is a 50-50 joint venture of Kawasaki and a Brazillian ore company. Co-steel and Dofasco, two Canadian steel makers, are planning a venture in Gallatin, Ky. LTV has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Sumimoto and British Steel. U.S. steel companies are finding that joint ventures are necessary to provide the capital necessary for continued upgrades.