Steel Times International Issue
January/February 2021

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January/February 2021

Donald Trump is out of the White House and banned from social media. It’s an odd state of affairs having the President of the United States, the so-called ‘leader of the free world’, banned from Twitter and Facebook, but that’s the reality of the situation, and it all boils down to the recent storming of the Capitol Building in Washington DC by Trump supporters. People died and some say Trump has blood on his hands for inciting the violence. Let’s face it, Trump was never very ‘presidential’ and since losing the election to Joe Biden he’s shown his true colours as a bad loser, who, despite providing no evidence, convinced himself and his followers that the Democrats stole the election. And now as I write this on the day of President-elect Biden’s inauguration, DC is in lockdown and the military patrols the streets to prevent a repeat of the early January violence.

Trump is not going down in history as one of America’s great statesman, and in so many ways he’s shown the USA in a very bad light.

Back in 2007 I found myself in Miami attending Snaxpo, a convention and exposition for the snacks industry. I distinctly remember the Americans being mildly embarrassed about their President George ‘Dubya’ Bush; and now I wonder what they are thinking about Trump.

On the world stage, my impression is that people laughed behind his back. I feel the same about the UK’s Boris Johnson who, like Trump, looks a little ridiculous in his ill-fitting clothes. Along with Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in Holland, they all three have extravagant, over-the-top 'blond' haircuts, which appears to be the ‘populist’ way. If you want to get ahead, don’t get a hat, dye your hair blond.

But was Trump all bad? No he wasn’t. He opened some kind of dialogue with Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, and let’s face it, Trump never went to war. From the perspective of the North American steel industry, he introduced Section 232 tariffs on imported steel, a move widely supported by the major steel industry trade associations who are now calling on Joe Biden to keep them in place – or risk a torrent of cheap steel coming in from China and elsewhere, causing untold damage to American steelmakers and making a nonsense of all the investments made by the North American steel industry.

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2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge, Editor of Steel Times International.

4 News round-up – the latest global news.

11 Latin America Update.

15 USA Update – will Joe Biden hold on to steel tariffs?

18 Innovations – 21 pages of new products and contract news.

36 COVER STORY: Direct Reduced Iron – A focus on North Africa.

44 Green steelmaking – Tenova on how to decarbonise the steel industry.

52 Testing & Analysis – what's best for different stages of EAF steelmaking?

56 Stainless steel – Outokumpu on duplex stainless steels.

60 Environment – Shell's blue hydrogen process.

66 Perspectives Q&A: Taylor-Winfield's Blake Rhein, vice president of sales.