March 8–Amid threats of countervailing trade measures from Europe, Asia and South America, U.S. President Donald Trump signed two proclamations this afternoon to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum starting March 23.
The proclamations include waivers to exempt Canada and Mexico from the tariff, provided they do not provide transport of other countries’ steel and aluminum products to the United States. They also allow U.S. consumers to apply for exclusions for specific types of steel and aluminum imports that the domestic market does not provide.
Surrounded by U.S. workers, Trump said “aggressive foreign trade practices” act as an “assault” on the U.S. economy, displacing producers and workers.
“Our industries have been targeted for years and years, decades in fact, by unfair foreign trade practices leading to shuttered plants and mills, the layoffs of millions of workers, and the decimation of entire communities. And it’s going to stop,” Trump said. “The actions we are taking today are not a matter of choice. They are a matter of necessity.”
The news follows a month investigation by the Commerce Department, which recommended tariffs in two separate reports issued in January.
The president used his authority under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose the tariffs out of a concern for national security without having to obtain the consent of Congress. The Commerce Department under the George W. Bush Administration broadly defined national security to include critical industries and infrastructure.
The steel tariff of 25 percent intends to protect domestic steel producers, enabling them to “use approximately 80 percent of existing domestic production capacity and thereby achieve long-term economic viability through increased production.”
The tariff on aluminum of 10 percent shields domestic producers from an excess global capacity. It includes language that allows the president to make adjustments to the tariff and exclude certain countries from it.
The Commerce Department is expected to publish procedures for importers and exporters seeking exclusions within 10 days.by dumping, protectionism, tariffs, trade, U.S.