The United States built the world’s most important infrastructure during the industrial revolution, when it transformed raw materials from metal to steel and eventually into automobiles, planes, and even homes.
But the United States has been largely responsible for the steel building boom in the past two decades.
While many steelmakers were building their newest models to meet high demand, America’s competitors were slowly building the most durable and reliable products that can withstand a full range of everyday uses.
Today, America is home to more than a third of the world population and about 50 percent of the global steel production.
Yet America’s reliance on steel has been the subject of growing scrutiny in the United Nations, the European Union, and many countries around the world.
America’s dependence on steel is particularly acute in the automotive sector, where many companies are making their latest vehicles with steel and other materials.
In recent years, however, concerns have mounted over the safety and sustainability of these products, particularly as global demand for automotive vehicles continues to grow.
While the global demand to build cars and trucks has grown steadily in recent years — the number of new cars sold worldwide has grown by about 50% in the last four years — more than half of the steel used in these vehicles is used in the US.
The most widely used components in the vehicles are steel and aluminum.
The use of these materials is not limited to the United Kingdom or Japan.
In 2014, the World Trade Organization banned the use of steel and aluminium in automotive engines, brakes, transmissions, and chassis.
In the past few years, the global car industry has begun to address the environmental concerns raised by the WTO by introducing tougher standards for car production.
But American manufacturers are still relying on imported steel and their competitors are slowly replacing them.
In this report, we take a closer look at why America’s focus on steel, while important, is still limited and at times has been a limiting factor.
We also explore how to improve the environmental footprint of American steel buildings, including ways to increase durability and reduce costs, and to encourage companies to produce more efficient products.
Sources: The Associated Press, American Institute for Steel and Automotive, National Steel Federation, World Trade Center Museum, The Economist, United Nations.