US Commerce Secretary to reveal options for steel, aluminum tariffs

Feb 17, 2018, 00:43
US Commerce Secretary to reveal options for steel, aluminum tariffs

Wall Street is already handing out verdicts on who will win and who will lose if President Trump follows the Commerce Department's recommendations to impose heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Both companies reversed gains after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross proposed a 24 percent global tariff on steel shipments coming into the US and a 7.7 percent duty on aluminum imports. The second was a 23.6 percent tariff on China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam, with all other countries subject to a quota equal to the amount they exported the United States in 2017.

The change comes amid heightened tensions between Europe and the US over the possibility of a trade dispute, with Washington threatening to restrict American purchases of foreign steel and aluminum on national-security grounds.

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"The DOC reports provide a comprehensive listing of the countries - Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam - that have relentlessly violated trade laws".

"We can not be without a steel industry", President Trump said Monday during a White House meeting with lawmakers. Any exclusions granted could result in changed tariffs or quotas for the remaining products to maintain the overall effect.

"We make aluminum and we make steel in Missouri, but we buy a lot of aluminum and we buy a lot of steel as well, from bass boats to beer cans", Blunt said.

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Trump met a bipartisan group of USA senators and representatives at the White House last week, signalling he would take at least some action to restrict imports of the two metals.

He also said that the prices of both aluminum and steel have "varied greatly in recent years", and that auto production has remained "very, very high" even when aluminum and steel prices were up "quite a bit from their lows". The President may take a range of actions, or no action, based on the analysis and recommendations provided in the reports. "It'll make a decision, and I will make a decision that reflects the best interests of the U.S., including the need to address overproduction in China and other countries". The country's imports are almost four times the amount of exports, according to the report. U.S. Steel shares were recently up 10% to $43, on track for their their highest close since September 2014.

If tariff determinations are made, Handschuh continued, these products should be excluded and individual companies shouldn't have to apply for exemptions to import the specialty products. "For example, there is only one remaining USA producer of the high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aerospace". According to the latest industry data, Chinese primary aluminum capacity grew by 9 percent in 2017 while capacity in the rest of the world declined by about 0.5 percent. "Infrastructure, which is necessary for our economic security, is a major use of aluminum".

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