The United States is likely to import a record 46 million tons in 2006, according to figures released Wednesday.

The Census Bureau reported U.S. imports jumped 45 percent through October of this year, to 38.8 million tons, up from 26.8 million tons in the same period in 2005. Of that, 4.3 million tons came from China, up from 2 million tons in the 2005 period.

The United States imported 3.4 million further tons in November.

The increase is a sign the nation needs to address unfair trade practices by China and other Asian exporters, the American Iron and Steel Institute said. The AISI is an industry trade group which represents more than 30 U.S. steel companies.

The AISI noted that much of the increase stems from countries with what it called “a history of unfair trading,” including China, India, Taiwan and other Asian countries.

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