THE US embargo on steel imports has led to an increase in the price of wire rope in the USA, according to a leading manufacturer.

Bridon American said that it was forced to raise its prices on 1 April because of three separate price increases from suppliers of steel rods who have taken advantage of the reduction in competition from overseas.

The USA’s other two major manufacturers of wire rope, Wire Rope Corporation of America and Williamsport Wire Rope Works, both put their prices up soon afterwards, though they were less willing to blame the steel embargo specifically.

Wire Rope Corporation of America has put its prices up by between 4% and 4.5%. The rod cost increase was the primary reason for the increase, the company said, but it was not prepared to express a view on whether the rise in rod prices was itself a direct result of lack of foreign competition.

Williamsport Wire Rope put its prices up 4.3% on 1 May. In a letter to customers marketing vice president Bill Austin said: ‘The past year has been a very difficult year for our country, and for wire rope manufacturers. An unprecedented number of domestic steel companies have been forced into bankruptcies, and wire rope companies have actually closed as a result of unfair price competition by foreign manufacturers. Although our government decided to provide relief to the domestic steel producing companies in the face of unfair trading, it did not respond to the same unfair practices and their impact on the domestic wire rope industry.

The letter continued: ‘As a result, the remaining wire rope producers are being squeezed from both ends. Increased steel costs due to recently announced trade actions, insurance cost increases after 9/11, and sharply escalating health care costs along with the continued unfair practices of certain suppliers of imported wire rope have created unprecedented challenges.’

Crane manufacturers are believed not to have been affected by the embargo as steel plate has not risen in price.

Crosby, a sister company of Bridon that manufacturers hooks and other lifting tackle, has also seen increases of 5% to 10% in the cost of its raw materials. Crosby says that it has passed a 3% price rise onto customers.