The United States (US) steel industry suffered dramatically in the 1980s under the combined pressure of reduced consumption and rising imports which kept prices low, drastically reduced capacity utilization and thereby produced record financial losses. The US Government has never implemented an industrial policy in steel, or, with few exceptions such as aviation, in any other industrial sector. Compared with the policies of other industrialized states, US trade policies in steel are noteworthy for their short-lived and erratic character, their ineffectiveness in limiting import growth, and for the enormous public controversy which they have engendered. US relations with Canada were complicated by concurrent negotiations to establish a US-Canada Free Trade Area, an initiative which faced substantial opposition in both countries. The discussion of cost competitiveness deals with the aggregate or average position of the entire US industry. Imports from European mills increased sharply during the latter portion of 1979, both in absolute tonnage and as a percent of US consumption.