Steel Makers Forge Ahead

January 16, 2002 ( - US steel makers can now present a united front in their continuing efforts to promote industry consolidation, specifically in advancing a request for the federal government to pay their retiree health care costs, according to the Associated Press.

Apparently having worked out inter-industry differences at a recent strategy meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, steel maker officials plan to ask the government to pay health benefits to former workers out of an existing government program, from import tariff revenue or taxes.
At the same time, industry officials said US Steel, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel and other companies will continue to discuss a possible megamerger – a move some believe to be the key to keeping the domestic steel industry alive, according to the AP.

In a related move also designed to shore up the industry, steel makers are also asking President Bush to institute a 40% steel tariff for four years to help restrict imports in order to boost domestic steel firms.

However, a group of US steel importers and steel-consuming industries warned that the tariffs being sought would put many employees out of work and increase consumer prices.