Trump Considering Options to Curb Steel and Aluminum Imports

- February 13th, 2018

The president has until April 11 to decide whether he will place restrictions on steel imports and until April 20 to do the same regarding aluminum imports.

At a bipartisan meeting of US senators and representatives, US President Donald Trump discussed options for dealing with steel and aluminum imports.

The list of options was compiled last month by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross as part of a Section 232 investigation. The investigation is aimed at determining if imports of steel and aluminum should be restricted to protect national security.

According to Reuters, Trump said at the Tuesday (February 13) meeting, “[p]art of the options would be tariffs coming in. As they dump steel, they pay tariffs, substantial tariffs, which means the United States would actually make a lot of money.”

The meeting included four Democrats and 15 Republicans. Concerns raised by the Republicans included the threat of retaliation from trading partners and net job losses, as only 3 percent of steel produced is used for national security purposes.

Trump responded by saying that number will go up as the US increases defense spending in the years ahead. The president has until April 11 to decide whether he will place restrictions on steel imports and until April 20 to do the same regarding aluminum imports.

Anti-dumping trade probe

Earlier this month, representatives from the Aluminum Association testified at a hearing before the US International Trade Commission, speaking about the anti-dumping, anti-subsidy probe on Chinese aluminum alloy sheet imports launched in late November by the US.

The probe is separate from the Section 232 investigation, and has seen US foil producers claim that Chinese competitors are systematically forcing them out of the business. They have said they require anti-dumping duties to survive.

Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock said, “the relief we seek will help ensure that the US aluminum foil industry can compete fairly in the US market.”

However, Chinese producers have countered that US producers are not being harmed. They have suggested that American manufacturers are incapable of producing the thinnest gauges of foil used in packaging. “Our success is not based on selling aluminum foil at low prices,” said Mo Xinda, a director at China’s Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association.

The US International Trade Commission is also expected to rule on the issue in April.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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