Regardless of how much iron and steel is produced by a country, if it produces a lot of products based on these materials it will likely have to import them as well. Inconsistent domestic supplies and pricing considerations could make it necessary for a country to import both iron and steel, even when it is mined and processed in large quantities domestically. In modern times, the development of a country is to some degree dependent upon its industrial production, which in turn is often reflected in national totals of the import and export of iron and steel, as so many goods are produced from these materials. From a basic sewing needle to a fully equipped aircraft carrier, many of the necessary components of technology and industry require iron or steel for their production. We look into the biggest importers of iron and steel globally, based on financial values expressed in US dollar at current prices.
Top Countries by Iron and Steel Imports
Standing at first place in this list is the United States, with its iron and steel imports in 2014 valued at an astounding $49 billion USD. Apart from having to fulfill domestic demands and the production of exportable iron and steel based products, the US needs to import these for the sake of producing weapons to be used for defense production as well. It is for this reason that the country’s import of these products has been fairly high for some time now. Germany is in second place in this list, with a combined iron and steel import value of $31 billion USD in 2014. The reason behind such immense iron and steel imports by Germany is that of its top position for iron and steel products across the world as a supplier, notably including automobiles and heavy machinery among them. To fulfill the ever-increasing demand of these items, it is necessary for the country to import large amounts of raw materials. For the record, Germany has also long been the leading global exporter (13.1% of worldwide exports) of iron and steel products.
Coming in on number three in this list of the world’s top iron and steel importers is China, with its imports of such valued at $22 billion USD in 2014. Although China is one of the leading producers of iron and steel, its ever-increasing domestic demands, together with the demand of its iron and steel products across the world, has increasingly made it necessary for the country to spend a lot on these imports. The International Iron and Steel Institute, or IISI, has stated that China’s output of refrigerators, washing machines, computers and automobiles has been on the rise, which has increased its need to import iron and steel. The domestic need for iron and steel has grown as well, particularly due to an increase in the utilization of rolled steel in China’s building materials, ships, electromechanical products and heavy machinery.
Other Countries With Noteworthy Iron and Steel Imports
A few other countries that have made it to the list of top importers of iron and steel in the world are South Korea, Italy, France, and Thailand. Each of these countries imported iron and steel products valued at around $21 billion, $18 billion, $14 billion and $13 billion USD, respectively. The countries that have made it on the 9th and 10th positions in this list are Canada and the Netherlands. Statistics show that these countries imported iron and steel worth $12 billion and $11 billion USD each.
It takes goods to make goods, and nowhere is this truer than in the case of imports of iron and steel. Just as iron and steel formed the backbone of many of the world’s greatest ships, without them many nations’ economies would surely sink as well. By keeping a steady supply of these integral components on hand, the countries making this list are trying to ensure that they keep their respective economies afloat.