Protectionism: Asia's New Steel Tiger

Does South Korea's POSCO compete fairly?

When U.S. steelmakers raise the bogeyman of unfair foreign competition, one firm they have in mind is POSCO of South Korea, which last year passed Japan's Nippon Steel to become the world's top producer. Churning out 27.8 million tons of steel products, POSCO earned $620 million, with exports accounting for 25% of revenues. But does it owe its competitive edge to government handouts? Its ties to Seoul are certainly cozy, and its exports still face countervailing duties abroad, to offset subsidies it received years ago. But analysts say POSCO now operates independently and succeeds through smart management and planning.

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