U.S. steel exports rose by 13 percent last year, with robust increases of exports to major trading partners in North America and Europe.
The United States exported 10.5 million tons of steel, according to the American Institute for International Steel. America also imported 34.6 million tons of steel last year, near the record of 40.3 million in 2014, continuing its reign as the world's largest importer of steel.
U.S. mills, however, sent 5.2 million tons of steel to Canada last year, an 11 percent year-over-year increase, and 4.1 million tons to Mexico, a 12 percent year-over-year increase. They also sent 407,451 tons to the European Union, or 60 percent more than the previous year.
Exports declined by 15 percent month over month to 751,977 in December, including a 20 percent drop of exports to Canada and a 16 percent decline to Mexico. The American Institute for International Steel, which routinely promotes free trade, warned that dismantling the North American Free Trade Agreement could shrink exports to Canada and Mexico, which now consumes roughly 90 percent of the steel exported by U.S. steel mills.