Tariff winners and losers: US Steel spikes, Ford retreats

Tariff winners and losers: US Steel spikes, Ford retreats”

The Commerce Department on Friday recommended imposing heavy tariffs or quotas on foreign producers of steel and aluminum in the interest of national security, following a trade investigation of imports, according to sources.

The measures would cover not only finished products but also semifinished goods such as blooms, billets and slabs, Ross told American Metal Market during a conference call with reporters on Friday February 16. DOC advised him to impose strong tariffs: A global duty of at least 24 percent on all steel imports from all countries, or a tariff of at least 53 percent on all steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam) with a quota by product on steel imports from all other countries equal to 100 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.

A 63-percent quota of those countries' 2017 imports is recommended in the steel report. "And we presented the President with a range of alternatives that goes from a big tariff on everything from everywhere, to very selective tariffs from a very selective group of countries". But in our view, and that of most Americans, the President must take quick and comprehensive action on unfair trade and critical infrastructure improvements.

President Donald Trump and his administration announced the so-called Section 232 investigation into steel and aluminum imports in April 2017. Under this option, the United States would also impose a quota limiting all other countries to the aluminum and steel they exported to the United States past year.

It cited, among other things, the shutdown of six basic oxygen furnaces and four electric furnaces since 2000 and a 35 percent drop in employment since 1998.

Department's goal is to increase demand for American-made metals.

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There is 700 million tons of global excess steel capacity.

He described how 1960s US quotas on oil pushed then-ally Venezuela into the arms of Middle Eastern competitors, leading them to create the OPEC cartel - with, by the 1970s, disastrous consequences on oil prices, inflation, the broader global economy and the American energy supply.

Ross said the remedies were created to raise USA capacity utilization to about 80 percent for each industry, from the current 48 percent in aluminum and 76 percent in steel.

Some U.S. lawmakers and steel and aluminum users have urged caution in any restrictions to avoid disruptions or price spikes in the raw materials, used in everything from autos to appliances and aircraft and construction. More than two dozen US steel and steel-related companies and associations wrote Trump a letter on February 2 urging "strong action" to support domestic steel.

The measures would be in addition to any duties now in place.

The 10-month investigation determined that the quantities and circumstance of steel and aluminum imports "threaten to impair the national security". Commerce Secretary Ross noted that Section 232 remedies do not require "the same tariff on every single country". "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".

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