However, during the last 20 years, this industry has been experiencing a rapid decline. Declining industries were once growth industries but a continuing fall in demand for their products has resulted in their decline. The steel industry is typical of the British decline in the manufacturing sector. This industry was in a position of supremacy in the 1870's but by 1910-14 British output had fallen behind that of the United States and Germany (Pope, 1998:24). Whilst annual output averaged 7 million tonnes, Germany was averaging 15 million tonnes and the United States averaging 27 million (Pope, 1998: 24).
The US and German producers benefited from home markets protected by tariffs. A guaranteed home market, especially one dominated by huge corporations like US Steel or cartels, encouraged investment in large scale integrated plants utilising the latest technology. These plants gave the US and German producers a competitive edge. However the British industry comprised of mainly modest sized family firms, lacking the capital resources or the market to justify investment in the latest, large-scale and integrated plants (Pope, 1998: 24).
Western Europe accounts for more than 60% of total steel production; with North America accounting for 50% and Japan for about 80% of steel production. ...Show more