As the USA announces tariffs of 522% on Chinese cold-rolled flat steel, two of the American steel industry's big hitters, including 2016's Steelmaker of the Year John Ferriola, have spoken out about the importance of the overcapacity issue and how it will be top-of-mind for whoever occupies the White House at the end of this year.

While the story of Chinese imports of cheap steel being sold at below market prices is not new – and certainly not unique to the USA – the Americans are throwing everything at protecting their homegrown steel industry.

Speaking at the AISTech convention in Pittsburgh, PA, USA yesterday, John Ferriola, CEO of the American steel giant Nucor Corporation told Steel Times International that the issue of Chinese steel imports into the USA will be a major one for whoever becomes President of the United States in November. "This will be a major issue for all of the candidates and I think that speaks to the magnitude of the impact it's having on our economy, on the middle class worker of the United States, and that's why it's risen to such a high level. Whoever is the successful candidate, our expectation is that the promises they make throughout the campaign, we'll hold them to those promises after they are elected," he said.

Mario Longhi, CEO of US Steel, pointed out that, based on the results of a national survey conducted by a respected market research organisation in the USA, next to loving puppies, the average American believes that steel is important for daily life and national security. "This is how powerful the situation is in the minds of people and, therefore, we're going to have a voice in the next administration regardless of who wins," he said.

Longhi said that the case [of Chinese imports into the USA] is going to be respected by whoever wins the election.

Cold-rolled flat steel is used in the automotive and construction industries and is the key ingredient of the shipping container.