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Steel imports rose slightly in August though they were still lower than what was reported in August 2000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The department said American companies imported 2.4 million tons of steel last month, an increase from the 2.2 million tons in July and a drop from 3.2 million tons in August 2000.

Imports have declined during most months this year but steel industry executives and union leaders are still asking for help in the form of tariffs on foreign steel.

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