Save the 232 tariffs, coalition begs Biden

A broad coalition of US steel players are pleading with the Biden administration to retain former President Donald Trump’s Section 232 tariffs, Kallanish reports. 

The coalition is made up of the American Iron and Steel Institute, the United Steelworkers labour union, the Steel Manufacturers Association, the Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports,  the Specialty Steel Industry of North America, the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

“The tariffs have been a success, allowing our industry to restart idled mills, rehire laid-off workers and invest in the future,” the coalition writes in a letter to President Joe Biden. “Since the tariffs took effect, American steel producers have announced plans to invest more than $15.7 billion in new or upgraded facilities – investments that are now beginning to bear fruit in the form of permanent, family-sustaining steel jobs and economic activity that supports communities across the United States.”

The coalition believes current supply issues are a lingering result of the Covid-19 pandemic that will improve over time. This is the opposite opinion taken by the Wall Street Journal, which argued earlier this week that the tariffs are strangling downstream steel users (see Kallanish passim). 

“Indeed, virtually every steel market around the world is experiencing record high prices and long local lead times. Domestic steel supply is responding to market signals,” the coalition writes.

Ultimately, President Trump’s original rationale for the 232 tariffs has not – at its core – changed, the coalition says.

“Given the essential role of the steel industry to the nation’s defense and its critical infrastructure, the tariffs must remain in place,” the coalition says. “Moreover, the American steel industry’s favourable environmental footprint – as the cleanest and most energy efficient of major steel industries – makes it indispensable in the pursuit of our nation’s critical climate goals.”

Dan Hilliard USA