United States Copper Industry in the World Market: Running Hard Yet Losing Ground

Hricik, David | January 1, 1988

The domestic copper industry is a national one, directly affected by seemingly unrelated policies, ranging, for instance, from International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) and Multilateral Development Bank (“MDB”) lending policies to policies underlying the implementation of the Clean Air Act.'” Yet the United States has no comprehensive national copper policy. Rather, current policy consists primarily of fragmented decisions made without a broad view of the needs of the nation or the domestic copper industry. This Comment first surveys the world copper industry, its recent history, and present condition.”t It then addresses the ability of the domestic copper industry to compete on the world market, with focus on market factors, objective business considerations, and United States government policy. Discussion of recent congressional attempts to assist the industry follows. Finally, the Comment suggests the basic elements necessary for a national copper policy.