New Alpha Unit. This is a good one. I’m glad to see she is branching out into one of the Protectionist obsessions of this blog. I actually think this crap steel ought to be out and out banned. It’s obviously dangerous to use in construction projects. If it’s hazardous, ban it. It’s that simple.
I think there was one remaining US steel firm, and I think it just went out of business. Too bad, we have lots of iron ore up in Minnesota. The demise of the great US steel business and its high-paying union jobs is one of the sadder stories of the Globalization debacle. US steel firms are often slammed in corporate Time/Newsweek type organs as “protectionist.”
They have regularly been marching in to Congress demanding some sort of protection for their industry, and for this the corporate media ridicules them as if they were Flat Earthers. It’s finally looking like they have a point. Ban Chinese steel!
A man that I know and love had a construction project to complete, and decided that sheet metal would suit his purposes. He bought the sheet metal at one of those warehouse-style home improvement stores, and on the designated day to begin he got his welding equipment and set about to work.
First he realized that there was no way he could weld this metal. He’s been a welder for 40 years, and knows all about welding sheet metal and a lot of other things. This metal he couldn’t even spot-weld; it just burned up. Was this metal too thin? he wondered. Was the galvanization somehow to blame?
What he didn’t wonder at first was whether it was just really crappy sheet metal. Because when you go to one of those home improvement places to buy something, it doesn’t occur to you that you just bought a bunch of stuff that only looks like what you wanted!
It’s the Chinese version of sheet metal.
What we now know is that shoddy Chinese-made steel has been reported on, debated, and cursed for years now. Last year Reuters reported that there were Congressional hearings about the need to keep out inferior Chinese steel products. Of particular concern was a type of steel rod that is typically used in “seismic structures systems” for bridges, pipelines, and some buildings.
William Upton, president of Vulcan Threaded Products, based in Pelham, Alabama, said a company team visited China in November 2006 to investigate how Chinese companies could manufacture a competing steel rod so cheaply.
After observing “serious (safety) problems with the Chinese production,” Vulcan purchased samples of the steel rod to have it tested by a certified U.S. lab, Upton said.
The results showed “133 failures out of the 222 samples tested – an astonishing 60 percent failure rate,” Upton said. “These results are unbelievable because in normal applications for this product, only a zero percent failure rate is acceptable.”
Last year also it was reported by the Evening Times that imported Chinese steel may have been responsible for a bridge failure when a faulty cast steel component resulted in a snapped supporting cable.
This inferior Chinese steel is ubiquitous, not surprising since China outproduces all other countries. It’s a part of all kinds of everyday products people don’t give much thought to. All around the world people readily concede that this stuff is basically garbage, and yet the flow continues. North American manufacturers and construction firms expect a certain percentage of Chinese imports to be faulty, and order tests when they suspect there is a problem.
But the question I have, innocent that I am, is: Why is it okay to produce and sell garbage? Is there some kind of worldwide demand for shoddy Chinese products? If there isn’t, what is it doing flooding world markets?