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Steel: Think Before you Buy

There is a big difference between American and foreign steel

Kate Hogan's picture
by Kate Hogan on
Oct 13, 2017

Steel is often said to be one of the commodities that is essential to economic growth. Considered to be the lifeblood of a healthy and wealthy manufacturing country, governments have always looked at the industry favorably. As economies around the world advanced, the steel industry has also grown exponentially. But not all steel is created equal. 

In the United States, the company U.S. Steel is one of the nation’s premier steel manufacturers. The United States currently ranks fourth when it comes to steel production across the globe, behind India and Japan. China has become the world’s largest steel-producing nation as of 2015.  Their dominance in the steel industry is seen by the fact that the nation exports many of the different types of steel and accounts for just under 50% of the world’s total steel production. This market dominance allows China to flood the market with cheap steel. 

There are many different problems that come along with buying cheaper steel. Low quality or cheap buildings might not be structurally sound. They have the increased potential to weaken and collapse, this puts the lives of everyone in that building at risk. Chinese steel doesn’t have to go through the rigorous testing that American steel goes through. It is not held up to the same standards, specifications or regulations. It is also not quality controlled in the same way. In 2015, some Chinese steel companies even added Boron to their steel so they could earn a tax rebate. The problem is that adding this element to steel makes it more prone to failure.

It’s not only the Chinese that undercut the U.S. steel market. For years, the Japanese steel company Kobe was undercutting the market and gaining major supply contracts with companies like Boeing and Chrysler. This week, it was revealed that Kobe had used inferior products that could put millions of people at risk.

Most of the time, the cheapest building will be the lowest quality building. A cheap building could become a very expensive mistake. With cheaper buildings, there is much more potential for design flaws due to poor engineering. When holes don’t line up properly or pieces are missing, the construction delays can add up. Your most inexpensive building could end up really costing you.

American steel is held to higher standards than most. Purchasing American steel not only helps the economy, but also keeps good jobs in the United States. The next time you’re looking to complete a steel building project, big or small, make sure your steel comes from the United States. You can rest easy knowing that your building is going to be built with high quality materials that are going to last you a life time. 

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