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Trade News Archive: 24 March - 30 March
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As well as providing fresh news reports every day, AmericanEconomicAlert.org offers a uniques news rating system. Each news item below has been given a rating from 1 to 5 stars, depending on its importance and relevance to U.S. international economic and trade policy.
 

Thursday, March 26, 2015
U.S. Steel CEO asks Congress to improve trade laws amid plant closures
Pittsburgh Business Times

• Comment: "Not since the late 1990s has the industry faced such a torrent of steel imports, Longhi said, addressing members of the Congressional Steel Caucus. "Total and finished steel products imported into our market by heavily subsidized, command economies increased year-to-year between 22 percent to 90 percent," he said. "The last time we were at these levels, nearly half of American steel companies disappeared. Today, across the country, once again, mills are idled. Plants continue to be shut down. American workers are laid off."
As Dollar Heats Up Overseas, U.S. Manufacturers Feel a Chill
New York Times

• Comment: "Confronted with a steep drop in the value of the euro against the dollar, customers in Europe warn that they can no longer afford to buy Eastman’s American-made cutting equipment without deep discounts. Buyers in America, meanwhile, are demanding lower prices from Mr. Stevenson, too, as European-based rivals take advantage of the suddenly stronger dollar, which allows them to reduce prices on the machines they export to the United States without squeezing profits."
Worthington Industries’ loss hits $25M, says no more immediate plant closings
Columbus Business First

• Comment: "The company (NYSE:WOR) is closing its Florence, South Carolina, engineered cabs facility, cutting 310 employees. An additional 245 workers in the Columbus metal processing company’s oil and gas equipment unit – about a third of its work force – are losing their jobs, too. Some equipment there will move to a Worthington plant in Greeneville, Tennessee, executives told analysts Thursday on a third-quarter earnings call."
Conservatives step up efforts to close U.S. Export-Import Bank
Reuters

• Comment: "The Export-Import Bank ... uses taxpayer dollars to boost profits for some of the world’s largest and most well-connected corporations," president Marc Short said in the letter."It also distorts the free marketplace, sends billions of dollars to foreign companies, puts 99 percent of America’s small businesses at a competitive disadvantage, and eliminates American jobs."
China "Is Not Another US", Does Not Seek "Yuan Hegemony"
Zero Hedge

• Comment: "So to summarize, China is not seeking to establish yuan hegemony and doesn’t seek to upset the existing balance of power in the world and in fact, doesn’t even like to be called “number one.” While some of this may be true, one needs to consider the source here as this certainly appears to be an attempt on China’s part to make all of the bank’s new Western recruits comfortable with the their decision to join in the face of Washington’s “you’ll be sorry” rhetoric. "
U.S. hopes to wrap up Pacific trade deal, fast-track soon
Reuters

• Comment: "The timing of the two is tricky. Many Republicans want fast-track legislation done before TPP and some warn they will not support the TPP if so-called trade promotion authority is not in place before a deal is reached.But some Democrats - including the party's senior member on the House of Representatives' committee responsible for trade, Sander Levin - want to focus on the content of the TPP and insist getting the deal right must take priority."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
U.S. Steel laying off 2,080 at Granite City Works
St. Louis Business Journal

• Comment: "U.S. Steel Corp. is laying off 2,080 workers at its Granite City Works in Metro East as part of a consolidation of its North American flat-rolled operations."
Treasury's Lew to travel to China March 28-31: Treasury
Reuters

• Comment: "It said Lew would travel from March 28 to 31 "to hold discussions with senior Chinese officials on the U.S., Chinese, and global economies." Lew will meet Chinese officials on Monday and then leave for San Francisco on Tuesday, the statement added."
US risks epic blunder by treating China as an economic enemy
Telegraph

• Comment: "It would be a miracle if China were meekly to accept this outdated mockery of world financial governance, and nobody has yet paired the word meek with president Xi Jinping. The most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong - described this week by one party survivor as a "needle wrapped in silk" - will have his way. Those in Washington who think that China can be pushed around on such matters seem blind to the shifting strategic landscape, as if they still cling to Bush-era illusions of hegemonic power. Mr Obama knows better. It is a mystery why he has wasted so much capital on a debacle."
EU, US 'Likely' to Miss Year-End Target for Free Trade Deal
Industry Week

• Comment: "Speaking alongside Rinkevics, EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstroem insisted "you cannot put a date" on the conclusion of the talks but said both sides wanted to conclude talks "under the Obama administration", or before January 2017."
US Durable Goods Orders Stumbled in February
New York Times

• Comment: "Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in February, the latest installment of disappointing data this quarter that suggests the economy has hit a soft patch."
Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.
New York Times

• Comment: "Conservatives are likely to be incensed that even local policy changes could send the government to a United Nations-sanctioned tribunal. On the left, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, law professors and a host of liberal activists have expressed fears the provisions would infringe on United States sovereignty and impinge on government regulation involving businesses in banking, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and other sectors."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Richmond Fed Manufacturing Survey Collapses To 2-Year Lows
Zero Hedge

• Comment: "Despite Markit's PMI exuberance, it appears the awesomeness did not reach Richmond. Printing at a disastrous -8, against expectations of +3, Richmond Fed is the lowest since January 2013. The last 5 months have seen the index drop at its fastest rate since Lehman."
U.S. Senate leader says fast-track trade bill still top priority
Reuters

• Comment: "U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday legislation to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress remains a top priority and he hopes for progress in April."
Worthington Industries cutting 555 jobs, including 100+ in Ohio
Columbus Business First

• Comment: "Worthington Industries Inc. is cutting 555 employees from its work force, including more than 100 in Ohio, and closing a facility in South Carolina."