Steel imports 'camouflage'?

A steel importers group has charged that US steelmakers are using profits from the trigger-price mechanism and tax benefits to diversify rather than modernize.

Marcel Loeb, president of the American Institute for Imported Steel, called upon President Reagan ''to recognize that protectionism in America's steel industry is eliminating jobs in the US metalworking sector, which employs 20 times more people than the domestic steel industry and accounts for an almost 10 times larger share of our gross national product.''

Loeb said his group believes US steelmakers are using imports as ''camouflage.'' He said US steelmakers are obtaining ''billions of dollars from the public in inflated prices for steel products, tax relief, and exemption from pollution control regulations at the same time they're abandoning traditional steel manufacturing commitments and diversifying into other businesses.''

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