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News in North American Manufacturing

Commerce Department Sends President Section 232 Steel Findings, But Silent On What Action It’s Recommended

Commerce Department Sends President Section 232 Steel Findings, But Silent On What Action It’s Recommended

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - On Thursday, January 11, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross formally submitted to the White House and to President Donald Trump the results of its Section 232 investigation into the effect that steel mill product imports have on U.S. national security. As Politico explained, “Neither the White House nor the Commerce Department confirmed that the report found a national security threat, but the fact that the investigation has now entered a presidential decision phase seems to suggest that it did.” American Metal Market (subscription required) noted the investigation “could be focused on certain nations and product categories,” “may target the energy-related pipe and tube category, where...

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What To Expect As Negotiators Gear Up For Sixth Round Of NAFTA Talks

What To Expect As Negotiators Gear Up For Sixth Round Of NAFTA Talks

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Representatives from the U.S., Canadian, and Mexican governments will gather in Montreal starting Tuesday, January 23 for the sixth round of discussions about how to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Negotiators still have several issues to work out, and the outcome of the talks are uncertain at best. In remarks before the American Farm Bureau Federation last week, President Donald Trump did not threaten to withdraw from the trade pact, a departure from comments he’d made in recent weeks. When it comes to NAFTA, the president wants to: Improve the U.S. trade balance and reduce the trade deficit with the NAFTA countries; Discipline import and export monopolies to prevent trade...

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This Week's Top Economic Data Points: U.S. Small Business Optimism Hits Record High In 2017

This Week's Top Economic Data Points: U.S. Small Business Optimism Hits Record High In 2017

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - The National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Index hit a new record in 2017. The average monthly reading for the index in 2017 was 104.8. The previous record, set in 2004, was 104.6. In December, more small business owners told NFIB they plan to make additional capital investments and have more jobs open. Speaking of job openings: there were a total of 5.9 million jobs open in the United States in November 2017, a slight decline from the month before. The U.S. Labor Department also announced last week that 261,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended January 6, up from 250,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of...

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Canada Launches WTO Complaint Against United States

Canada Launches WTO Complaint Against United States

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - In December, the Canadian government filed a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) alleging that the United States has illegally imposed duties on foreign imports. Canada’s complaint, which only became public last week, cites 122 different cases, including several concerning steel and aluminum products. Canada’s move is likely to impact North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, which will resume next week. said, “The complaint … ramps up tensions amid talks on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement by the three member countries—the U.S., Canada and Mexico.” Canada’s 32-page complaint is available for download at this link. U.S. Trade...

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Global Economic Analysis and News of Note: Steel Production Down In China, Expected To Fall Again In 2018

Global Economic Analysis and News of Note: Steel Production Down In China, Expected To Fall Again In 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - ·      The Chinese government announced last week that its trade surplus with the United States rose 10 percent to $275.8 billion in 2017. That figure was the largest ever on record. China’s overall trade surplus was down last year, dropping 17 percent from the year before. The data released last week also showed that imports into China from North Korea fell 33 percent. ·      According to American Metal Market (subscription required), China’s finished steel exports fell 30.5 percent between 2016 and 2017 while aluminum exports increased 4.5 percent. The Financial Times (subscription required) said steel production is expected to continue...

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