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Nucor exec opens New Orleans event with plea for infrastructure, fair trade

New Orleans, LA - Fair global trade practices and greater U.S. infrastructure investments are essential to the success of American business, a steel industry executive said today [April 13] in opening the Critical Commodities Conference in New Orleans. Joe Stratman, executive vice president for raw materials at steel industry leader Nucor Corp., told a gathering of more than 350 industry leaders that illegal export subsidies, currency manipulations, state-owned enterprises and misrepresentation of product quality on the part of other countries constitute “a cancer on the global economy and particularly here in the U.S.” Speaking at the opening session of the conference, hosted by the Port of New Orleans and the American Institute of International Steel, Stratman said he believes such concerns, which now are bringing a surge of imports and resulting in shuttering of U.S. steel production facilities, will extend far beyond steel. “Today it’s steel,” Stratman said, “but tomorrow it’ll be another product. No product category is immune. Free trade must be free of government interference.” Stratman, whose firm annually spends $2 billion on freight for 40 million tons of steel products and raw materials, also used the New Orleans forum to make a plea for more U.S. investment in transportation infrastructure. “We know a sound, robust transportation system makes a huge difference to our bottom line,” he said, noting that India and China spend more than four times as much of their respective gross domestic products on infrastructure than the United States. “We have to get serious about ensuring that our infrastructure – which is the backbone of our nation – is healthy and strong.” Comprehensive coverage of the eighth annual Critical Commodities Conference is slated to appear in the May 9 edition of the American Journal of Transportation.
Joe Stratman, executive vice president for raw materials at steel industry leader Nucor Corp., provides the opening keynote address at the Critical Commodities Conference in New Orleans. (Photo by Paul Scott Abbott, AJOT)
Joe Stratman, executive vice president for raw materials at steel industry leader Nucor Corp., provides the opening keynote address at the Critical Commodities Conference in New Orleans. (Photo by Paul Scott Abbott, AJOT)
Paul Scott Abbott
Paul Scott Abbott

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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist.
A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists.
Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.
A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.

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