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1982 FIN – U.S. Fastener Manufacturers Counting on Commerce Department’s Section 232 Investigation

March 19
00:00 2010

1982 FIN – U.S. Fastener Manufacturers Counting on Commerce Department’s Section 232 Investigation

August 20, 1982 FIN – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Section 232 investigation of the fastener industry, considered by many the last hope of the domestic fastener manufacturing industry to win the battle against imports, is still in preliminary stages. The investigation is being conducted by Commerce and other Federal Departments at the request of the Department of Defense.

The question is: Has the U.S. fastener industry been so weakened by imports that we would no longer have the supply we would need during a major war?

Industry cooperation with Commerce in the effort is being organized by Industrial Fasteners Institute through a committee headed by Jim Schiele, president of St. Louis Screw & Bolt Co.
Schiele brought FIN up to date:
• “There have just been preliminary surveys sent out so far – by the Department of Labor, mainly about manpower, and the ability to train or retrain manpower,” Schiele reported.
• “We have had in the last 17 years literally half or better of the fastener industry shut down,” Schiele told FIN. “The rate at which lay-offs and shutdowns are occurring now will bring it over this mark.”
• “The question is: In the event of a national emergency when you want to get these factories going again, what would be the length of time it would take to train and retrain a lot of these skills?”
“First, a lot of these people have gone elsewhere,” Schiele noted. “They simply are not available to us anymore.”
How long does it take to train a nut former operator or a bolt maker operator? “The answer is that it takes a long time. It takes up to 27 months.”
• “The Commerce Department will be more interested in equipment. What happened to all of that equipment? What happened to all of that equipment?”
“Is fastener manufacturing equipment in mothballs so we can get it running again, or do we have to buy it or build it all over again?”

Schiele expects that there will be a Commerce survey on these questions toward the end of August or early September.

The emerging strategy of importers and others opposing trade restrictions on fasteners is to try to make a case that:
(1) Most fasteners used in defense are specials, not standards.
(2) Production of specials is being, if anything, encouraged by the imports.

Against this, Schiele says that he cannot yet speak for the industry, only his own company. “In our business, St. Louis Screw & Bolt, a small company which probably pretty much represents a cross section of industrial parts, better than 60% of our production is standards. The specials we make don’t necessarily go into defense. If you look at defense, you are looking at bolting equipment together, building plants, general machinery. It’s not just the nuts and bolts that go into a 45 cal. Automatic of a fighter plane.

“A lot of people who make specials also make standards,” Schiele explained. “We couldn’t run a business based on just specials or standards. It takes both. If you zap one part of the industry hard enough, chances are the other part is going to fail too.” ©1982/2010 Fastener Industry News

Related Links:

• Industrial Fasteners Institute

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