Trade remedies for steel and aluminum were long overdue

Robert E. Scott

Robert E. Scott Senior Economist and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, EPI

President Trump said today that he has decided to impose tariffs of 25 percent on all steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports, promising to sign the measures next week. Trade remedies for steel and aluminum were long overdue. Trump promised quick action after announcing investigations of the national security threats imposed by steel and aluminum imports nearly a year ago. Delays worsened the import crisis for thousands of U.S. steel and aluminum workers, many of whom are facing layoffs and plant closing announcements.

The crisis in steel and aluminum trade is driven by the development of massive amounts of excess production capacity, which has resulted in import dumping by China and a number of other countries singled out in the Commerce Department’s reports on its “section 232” investigations into the impact of imports of steel and aluminum products on national security. In its reports, which presented tariffs as one of three optional responses, the department found that unfair steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security.” In addition to China, other key countries identified in the Commerce reports included Brazil, South Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and 6 others in steel; and Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela, and Vietnam in aluminum.

Now that the tariffs have been announced, the United States should work with other nations to develop coordinated responses to unfair trade in these products. This announcement should mark the beginning, rather than the end, of efforts to develop coordinated global responses to the problems of excess capacity in steel and aluminum trade.


Reposted from EPI

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Tariffs Can Lift Up America

From the AFL-CIO

For years, America’s labor movement has called for targeted measures to counteract trade violations by China, which has used cybertheft, discriminatory policies and illegal government subsidies to systematically undermine U.S. technologies and intellectual property and gain unfair advantages in trade.

“Tariffs aren’t an end goal, but an important tool to end trade practices that kill American jobs and drive down American pay,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

America and our allies can and should employ tariffs to strategically target bad actions by trade partners when diplomacy fails.

China routinely has used cybertheft, discriminatory policies and illegal government subsidies to gain anti-competitive advantages that  harm America’s industries, including aerospace products, computer technologies, movies, steel and aluminum, as well as other critical technologies and intellectual property.

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