Media coverage of the Section 232 investigations — which could potentially curb imports of steel, stainless steel and aluminum into the U.S. — have spooked importers, consumer groups and some manufacturing industries.
These fears are misplaced, according to Barry Zekelman, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Zekelman Industries. “Steel has been the most abused product on the planet,” he says.
What makes Zekelman’s point of view on trade so fascinating?
The fact that he is not a steel producer! (That, and his ever-colorful examples…our headline above is a case in point.) Take a listen to our conversation:
The Rise of Zekelman Industries
His story sounds like the American dream – a tale of how Zekelman and his brothers were thrust into their father’s fledgling business after their father’s sudden passing. He left college as a freshman to help save the pipe manufacturer.
As a $2 million company with five employees and no profits, Zekelman and his brothers innovated to help transform the company into a $1.2 billion behemoth by 2006 and then combined it with JMC Steel Group to form Zekelman Industries, now a $2.1 billion company, according to Forbes.
What We Cover In This Episode…
He lays out his case for why the Trump administration is justified in taking a more critical look at how international trade works today – with a keen manufacturing point of view.
In this podcast episode, Zekelman discusses consumer inflation; tackles the ‘Cato Institute arguments’ that import curbs will harm consumers, and what he’d like to see the administration implement from a trade policy perspective.
(Not to mention a cutting example comparing prices of steel with those of other finished consumer goods, such as a classic example of Detroit’s finest, among many others.)
Manufacturing Trade Policy Confidential: Background
With everything that’s been happening on the international trade policy front over the past year, we wanted to give metal buying organizations more insight into the issues they may not be reading or hearing enough about — or at all — in the mainstream B2C media.
What better way to do so than go straight to the source — or sources — and interview some key movers and shakers on the manufacturing and policy fronts? So we’ve started a brand-new series called “Manufacturing Trade Policy Confidential.”
If you’ve visited MetalMiner’s digital pages over the past several months, you’re no stranger to the phrase “Section 232” — shorthand for the U.S. Department of Commerce investigation into whether certain steel imports constitute a national security risk, under the namesake section of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
The outcome of the investigation (findings from which were slated to come down last summer but have been delayed) could have significant effects on upstream and downstream manufacturing organizations, ranging from metal producers to buying organizations – even the mom-and-pops.
But Section 232 is only one small part. Trade circumvention, China’s non-market economy status, domestic uncertainty amidst proposed tax plans and many other issues have pushed us to start this new podcast series.
We’ll be publishing several more interviews in the coming weeks and months – stay tuned!
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