Steel industry uneasy about new faces in Bush administration

CLEVELAND (AP) – New faces in the Bush administration are unnerving to U-S steelmakers who are renewing efforts to get the government’s help dealing with cheaper imported steel.

Companies say they don’t know how new Commerce Secretary Carlos M- Gutierrez will respond to the industry’s requests. Officials say the fear of the unknown has increased anxiety in the industry.

The industry’s most pressing priority is discussing with the new officials whether the federal government will renew a program that monitors how much foreign steel is imported into the United States.

The monitoring program is to expire March 20th. The industry says the data is valuable for studying import trends and preventing the kind of flood that hurt bottom lines before.

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