September 14, 2007
Chinese steel targeted
Posted at: 10:08 AM | Posted by: Dan Davis, Editor-in-Chief
Everyone knew that the Aug. 1 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis would
spark plenty of scrutiny into the state of this countryfs infrastructure and the
construction methods used in these projects. But who knew that China would fall smack dab in
the middle of the investigations?
On Sept. 10, Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, called for federal hearings to discuss the importation of
low-quality hollow structural sections from China. He wants U.S. officials to examine Chinese
steel for quality before it enters this country and works its way into U.S. infrastructure projects.
gChina has a problem with quality,h he told Steel Business Briefing. gThey have a problem with
standards. Thatfs something that our country needs to be very concerned about. If those pipes
donft meet the specs that we have, then wefre going to fail.h
Local media quoted Gary Stein, president of Triple-S Steel Supply Co., a Houston-based steel
service center, as saying that his company refuses to ship any more Chinese-made steel. The
company even is leaving some of it at the Port of Houston, so that it can be shipped back.
In Michigan, an importer of Chinese-made cast iron soil pipe and fittings has been barred from
supplying state construction projects. The Michigan Construction Code Commission on Sept. 12
unanimously backed the decision of the Michigan Plumbing Board that denied MWI Import
Products from participating in any more state jobs. Apparently, MWI was unable to produce
documentation that its pipes and fittings met Michigan plumbing code standards.
Thatfs two relatively small strikes against Chinese-sourced steel, but will the next strike lead to a
series of more strikes? With the state of Chinese-U.S. trade relations, Chinese officials definitely
donft want more negative publicity.
To be honest, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, the parent organization of The
FABRICATOR, received a phone call several weeks ago from a tube and pipe manufacturer
wondering if we had heard anything from other members about the increase of low-quality steel
coming from overseas sources. Apparently, the phone call was a harbinger.
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