AISC


Advocacy

AISC represents nearly 1,000 U.S. steel companies that produce, distribute, fabricate, and install structural steel for America's great steel schools, airports, infrastructure projects, and skylines. 

We estimate that the U.S. structural steel industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers, 115,000 of whom are in fabrication and erection -- the most labor-intensive part of steel construction.

 


AISC's advocacy efforts primarily focus on the many public policies that support and promote a strong American steel industry. 

 

Keep America's Infrastructure Moving Forward

AISC welcomes and supports any proposal aimed at fixing America's aging infrastructure. Constituents and elected officials from both parties agree that our nation's roads, bridges, and other infrastructure require a sustained, long-term commitment of resources. 

We can put more Americans to work; improve the quality of life in our cities, towns, and rural areas; and drive commerce across our nation by enacting a comprehensive infrastructure bill. AISC frequently partners with other industry groups to advocate for legislative action on infrastructure.

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Support American Workers and Their Families Through Buy America Requirements

Buy America requirements were created around the simple premise that federal funds invested in infrastructure projects should be used to buy steel melted, poured, and fabricated by the American workers and companies whose taxes are paying for those projects. 

Buy America policies provide incentives for companies to invest in American manufacturing and maximize American jobs in the iron and steel industries. Buy America requirements ensure that America’s infrastructure and other projects demonstrate the hard work and dedication of our nation’s AEC community.

For the first time ever, AISC was invited to testify at the House Congressional Steel Caucus Hearing on March 5, 2020. You can read/watch David Zalesne's (former AISC Chair and president of Owen Steel Company) testimony on the importance of Buy America here: testimony | video

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Protect Future Generations with Responsible Environmental Policy

Structural steel is the premier green construction material. Its high recycled content and recycling rate far exceed those of any other construction material. Over the past three decades, the steel industry has reduced greenhouse gas and overall emissions by 36% and increased the water recycling rate of steel production to 95%. 

While numerous legislative and regulatory efforts in recent years have targeted emissions, energy efficiency, and related environmental concerns, the structural steel industry has proactively pursued innovative measures that typically exceed regulatory requirements making steel part of the solution

Buy Clean is a movement of non-profit organizations, private companies, and public officials working together to end the consumption of high-carbon products -- and close the carbon loophole. 

California has been promoting clean energy and energy efficiency to support growth and prosperity since 2006. In 2013, California's 800 largest industrial facilities began tracking, reporting, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Despite their current efforts, California still uses a substantial portion of its $170 billion in annual state revenues to purchase goods and services that produce high levels of climate pollution, leading to the passage of The Buy Clean California Act (Assembly Bill 262) in October 2017. This bill is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by considering the products that companies buy, including steel.

Since then, the legislation has gone through several iterations. The most current law requires facility-specific Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for suppliers of carbon-steel rebar, flat glass, mineral-wool board insulation, and structural steel. Steel mills must comply with the EPD requirements; fabricators are not required to do so at this time. However, concrete and wood were never included in the Bill and thus benefit from uneven reporting requirements.

As it stands, the implementation of this bill is fraught with roadblocks, but AISC has been working diligently with California regulators at the Department of General Services (DGS) to help them implement the Buy Clean California Act while maximizing the contributions of the steel fabrication industry the steel fabrication industry--after all, 90% of the global warming potential (GWP) impacts for structural steel occur during production, not fabrication.

Other states considering Buy Clean legislation include Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Minnesota. AISC is actively monitoring this type of legislation nationally and reaching out to bill sponsors to ensure they realize the full potential of what domestically fabricated structural steel can add to such efforts.

 

Ensure Fairness in International Trade

Domestically fabricated structural steel faces increasing challenges from foreign imports, some of which are brought into the country through unfair trade practices.

On February 4, 2019, AISC's Full Member Subgroup filed petitions with the ITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) alleging that fabricated structural steel imports from Canada, China, and Mexico were unfairly traded and that they were materially injuring the domestic industry.

On January 24, 2020, the DOC's affirmative final determinations confirmed that fabricated structural steel from those three countries was being sold in the U.S. market at dumped and/or subsidized prices. Nonetheless, the ITC ruled against this determination, meaning that trade orders would not impose further duties on these imports to level the playing field.

AISC is currently assessing its options to address the continued influx of unfairly traded fabricated structural steel imports into the U.S. market and will continue to work to ensure a fair  trade environment for the domestic fabricated structural steel iindustry.

"We are clearly disappointed with the ITC's negative determination. U.S. fabricators and the American families who depend on them are hurting because of unfairly traded FSS imports and will suffer additional harm in the absence of much-needed trade relief," said Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD, president of the American Institute of Steel Construction. "Our members' facilities are sitting underutilized as these imports undercut us on price and take projects across the United States. American fabricators are the best in the world and can compete against anyone anywhere, but they shouldn’t be forced to compete against dumped and subsidized FSS."

 

Tariff Impacts on Structural Steel Markets

While major steel projects have historically been fabricated in American plants, our trade policies have made the American construction market a rich target for foreign steel interests. Foreign steel producers have expanded from just exporting mill steel, to exporting fabricated structural steel that circumvents some U.S. trade actions and dilutes the effectiveness of tariffs.

Section 232 and section 301 tariffs have had different impacts on the steel making and fabrication industries, and while AISC has never supported nor opposed tariffs, we have always insisted that if any trade action is taken, it must include downstream users of mill material like fabricated structural steel. AISC has long believed that the best way to increase the utilization of domestic steel is to increase the size of the market, and has advocated for market-building activities that keep structural steel as the material of choice for America's great buildings, bridges, and infrastructure projects.

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For more information on AISC advocacy activities, contact Brian Raff, AISC's Director of Communications & Public Affairs at raff@aisc.org.