The U.S. Commerce Department is using a new monitoring system to shed light on how steel moves around the world.
Industry watchers say it could drive long-term policy changes to protect American steel from the effects of foreign trade.
The first installment of the new Global Steel Trade Monitor ranked China first in the world for steel exports, and the U.S. first for imports.
That wasn't news to the American Iron and Steel Institute. But general counsel Kevin Dempsey said they hope the report will help the U.S. be more proactive in its steel policy -- negotiating with foreign governments to lower subsidies for the industry, and getting global steel supply in line with demand:
"Until we address that, we're going to face a recurring series of these surges in imports," he said.
He said higher taxes on those imports are only providing short-term relief for companies like ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel, which employ thousands in Northwest Indiana. Arcelor just posted its first quarterly profit in a year, and U.S. Steel is expected to end 2016 in the black.
The federal government is still considering U.S. Steel's trade complaint against China. The last of three other trade cases, which have already resulted in those higher taxes, wraps up next month.