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NEWS RELEASE 98-018; APRIL 18, 1998
April 3, 1998
News Release 98-018
1996 MARKS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE U.S. TRADE SURPLUS
FOR EXPLOSIVES, PROPELLANT POWDERS, AND RELATED ITEMS
The U.S. trade balance for explosives, propellant powders, and related items, which had a
negative trade balance in 1992, showed a growing surplus from 1993 through 1996, reports
the U.S. International Trade Commission in its publication Industry and Trade Summary:
Explosives, Propellant Powders, and Related Items.
In 1996, the U.S. trade surplus in these products was $120 million, according to the report.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently released the
report as part of an ongoing series of reports on the thousands of products imported into and
exported from the United States. Following are other highlights of the report.
- U.S. producers of explosives, propellant powders, and related items appear to be
competitive in foreign markets on the basis of price, quality, and security of supply,
although trade in many explosives is limited by safety considerations. The U.S. coal
mining industry is the largest consumer of these products.
- U.S. production of explosives, propellant powders, and related items in the United
States ranged from $1.5 billion to nearly $1.8 billion during 1992-96, the period
covered by the report. Employment averaged about 13,000 to 14,000 persons during
this period. Imports accounted for approximately 12 percent to 15 percent of U.S.
consumption of these products, with significant quantities coming from producers in
China, Canada, and Mexico. The top markets for U.S. exports were Canada,
Mexico, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, with total U.S. exports representing
approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of U.S. production.
- The largest U.S. industrial consumers of these products include the mining,
quarrying, and construction sectors. These sectors primarily use high explosives and
related items, such as detonators. Private consumer demand is mainly for propellant
powders and for fireworks. Overall, demand for these products closely parallels the
condition of the general U.S. economy. In particular, demand is impacted from year
to year by the overall economic conditions in the mining and construction sectors of
the domestic economy.
The foregoing information is from the ITC report Industry and Trade Summary: Explosives,
Propellant Powders, and Related Items (USITC Publication 3081, March 1998).
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and
foreign producers, and customs treatment of the product being studied. They analyze the
basic factors affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as
well as factors bearing on the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in domestic and foreign
This report will be available on the ITC's Internet server (www.usitc.gov). A printed
copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the Office of the Secretary,
U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests
may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.
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