Global steel exports: Who exports what to where

Global Business

PORTAGE, IN – MARCH 15: Workers make steel at the NLMK Indiana mill on March 15, 2018 in Portage, Indiana. The mill, which is projected to produce up to 1 million tons of steel from recycled scrap in 2018, is considered a “mini mill” by U.S standards. NLMK Indiana is a subsidiary of NLMK, one of Russia’s largest steel manufacturers, responsible for nearly a quarter of Russias steel production and producing nearly a quarter of the worlds slab steel. Steel producers in the U.S. and worldwide are preparing for the impact of the recently-proposed tariffs by the Trump administration of 25 percent on imported steel. (Scott Olson/AFP)

Steel has been a focus of U.S. President Donald Trump’s push for tariffs so let’s take a look at steel by the numbers. According to World Steel – a global trade group, China is the world’s largest producer of steel.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman explores steel exports and which countries import and export the most.

In 2017 China produced 831 million tons of steel, accounting for just under half of the world’s steel output – up slightly over previous years.

The next five top producers are the EU, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.S. which accounts for less than 5 percent of world steel output.

So where does all that Chinese steel go? According to the Chinese Government most of it is used domestically. In 2017 only about 9 percent– 75 million tons– was exported. That’s down about 30% from 2016.

The U.S. government said the top export markets for Chinese steel in 2017 were South Korea, Vietnam and The Philippines. The U.S. ranked way down the list in 26th place, accounting for just 1.1 percent of Chinese steel exports.

So from where does the U.S. import steel? In 2017 the top five countries were Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Russia. China ranks 10th, accounting for just 2 percent of imported steel.

The U.S. tariffs on steel may impact many countries around the world, but will likely have little effect on the Chinese steel industry.