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US Commerce Secretary recommends steep import curbs to steel, aluminum

US Commerce Secretary recommends steep import curbs to steel, aluminum US Commerce Secretary recommends steep import curbs to steel, aluminum
Conrad Doyle | 16 February, 2018, 23:05

MEMA, which represents more than 1,000 vehicle suppliers across the country, stated in a letter to President Donald Trump that member companies operate in an "integrated global supply chain" and steel and aluminum products "must be excluded from any import adjustments to keep the industry running smoothly".

The department said Ross will not announce Trump's decision on how to deal with the surge in steel and aluminium imports, which United States producers have said are unfairly hurting them. He included among the options a tariff of almost 24 percent on all products from China, Russia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Venezuela.

The long-awaited unveiling of Commerce's "Section 232" national security reviews of the two industries contained global tariff options of at least 24 percent on all steel products from all countries, and at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum products from all countries.

The 12 countries are Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Lastly, under Section 232 the President must implement any action no later than 15 days following a determination to take action, therefore both US producers and importers alike can expect to learn the final results of the investigation and the President's decision no later than April 26, 2018.

Any action to limit imports is likely to end up raising the price of steel, which could destabilize American industries from automakers to food packagers.

In each case "the imports threaten to impair our national security", Ross told reporters in a conference call about the so-called Section 232 investigation. "It'll make a decision, and I will make a decision that reflects the best interests of the United States, including the need to address overproduction in China and other countries".

Companies can also seek appeals based on USA production of steel and aluminum and specific national security-based considerations.

For steel, Ross suggested an across-the-board tariff of 24% on imports from all countries, or tariffs of at least 53% on imports from 12 countries in particular, including China and Russian Federation.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross takes a question as he speaks to the media about a new tariff on Canadian lumber during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 25, 2017. The President has 90 days to decide on any action, which is April 11.

Other options would impose high tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminium imports. Ross also suggested limiting imports of steel into the United States.

An aluminum import quota on all countries of 86.7% of their 2017 imports was also an option detailed in the report.

But Commerce said the goal of the measures is to boost domestic aluminium and steel production.

Economists and lawmakers are anxious that new tariffs on steel could trigger retaliation from other countries and possibly hurt the United States economy. This model has allowed for continued growth in motor vehicle production as well as USA employment in our sector...

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