US Commerce Department recommends hefty tariffs on steel imports

US Commerce Department recommends hefty tariffs on steel imports

The President is required to make a decision on the steel recommendations by April 11, 2018, and on the aluminum recommendations by April 19, 2018. Having borne the brunt of lost jobs and declining production caused by unfair and illegal trade and global overcapacity largely fueled by China, our members sent more than 20,000 letters and petitions to the DOC and the White House demanding action.

The recommendations unveiled by Secretary Wilbur Ross Friday are likely to escalate tensions with China and other USA trading partners. For certain types of steel, such as for electrical transformers, only one US producer remains. The third option involves a quota on all products from all countries equal to 63 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.

The proposed measures are meant to lift US production to 80 percent in both industries. Each remedy applies measures to all countries and all steel products to prevent circumvention.

In a separate statement Friday, Commerce said the tariffs and quotas would be in addition to any duties already in place. And the kind of sanctions Ross is recommending will cause major conniption fits in Republican and business circles, in part due to their potential effect on companies and products utilizing imported steel and aluminum, but mostly because of the potential for retaliation by affected countries, especially China.

"We strongly support today's release by the Department of Commerce of the Section 232 Aluminum Report".

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From 2013 to 2016 aluminum industry employment fell by 58%, 6 smelters shut down, and only two of the remaining 5 smelters are operating at capacity, even though demand has grown considerably. "For certain types of steel, such as for electrical transformers, only one US producer remains", the release stated. Aluminum is vital to our national security.

The Commerce Department has recently brought trade cases to try to address the dumping of aluminum.

In a report to President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross includes among the options a almost 24 per cent tariff on all products from China, Russia and three other economies. These would cover both aluminum ingots and a wide variety of aluminum products.

For aluminum, he recommended either a 7.7 per cent tariffs on the metal from all countries; a quota for all countries; or, perhaps the most shocking of all the options, a 23.6 per cent tariffs on imports of all products from China, Russia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Venezuela. The first involves a global tariff of at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum imports, and another is a quota on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States. At present, domestic steel plants are running at 73 percent of capacity and aluminum plants at 48 percent.

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