Canada Perturbed by Buy America Steel Requirements for Ferry Terminal

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A US requirement that American steel be used to update an Alaska ferry terminal is causing some tension with Canadian officials, potentially threatening the project.

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The terminal is on Canadian soil, in British Columbia, but the land is leased to the state of Alaska. Under a 50-year lease signed last year, the state is required to rebuild the terminal facilities and docking structure on that land.

The vast majority of funding for the construction work is expected to come from the Federal Highway Administration, which has “Buy America” requirements for steel, iron and manufactured products used in projects it funds. The rest of the funding would come from the state.

The requirement for materials produced in the US can be waived in some circumstances, such as when use of domestic material would raise costs by more than 25%, US products are in limited quantity, or their use “would be inconsistent with the public interest.”

In a letter to Alaska Gov. Bill Walker this month, Gary Doer, the Canadian ambassador to the US, said applying Buy America restrictions to a project on Canadian soil is unacceptable.

With a decline of 0.7% to $606.00 per short ton on Wednesday, December 17, the 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract recorded the biggest decline of the day. The spot price of the US HRC futures contract saw little movement on Wednesday, closing out around $614.00 per short ton.

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Chinese steel prices were flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($135.74) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($135.74) per dry metric ton. Chinese HRC saw little change in its price on Wednesday at CNY 3,090 ($499.33) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 1,080 ($174.52) per metric ton.

The steel billet cash price continues hovering around $500.00 per metric ton on the LME for the fifth day in a row. For the fifth consecutive day, the 3-month price of steel billet held flat on the LME at $480.00 per metric ton.

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