AGC Calls US Cement Shortage Dire

Washington, D.C., June 6--The Associated General Contractors of America called on Commerce Secretary Gutierrez to intervene in the increasingly dire supply for cement in the U.S. before major economic disruptions occur. In the past week alone, AGC has received reports from contractors and concrete suppliers nationwide documenting quotas, delays and possible layoffs due to cement shortages in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Florida. "What makes these reports especially alarming is that they are coming at the beginning of the high-demand season for cement, meaning more severe problems are almost certain in the near future," said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. In addition, some of the states named had no shortages last year, or at least not so early, meaning that shortages are likely to be even more widespread than in the 35 states where the Portland Cement Association noted shortages or tight supplies as of November 2004. "We urge the Secretary to head off a crisis that could spread throughout the economy by concluding agreements with domestic cement producers to suspend the anti-dumping duty on Mexican cement," Sandherr added. Mexican cement could reach the U.S. in days by barge or rail, which would reduce congestion and delays for ocean carriers, U.S. ports, and their customers, as well as the construction industry.

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