Steel: Bar to Imports

The traditionally fat U.S. trade surplus shrank to almost nothing last year largely because of steel. Foreign steel makers, who accounted for less than 5% of the U.S. market as recently as 1961, won a 12% share in 1967 and a surprising 17% in 1968. American pur chases of steel from abroad last year reached a record $1.5 billion.

As imports have risen, so have demands by domestic producers for protective quotas. Faced with growing Congressional support for protectionism, the Johnson Administration feared the damage that mandatory import controls would do to its policies of free trade. Thus it...

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