Steel users beg Biden to nix 232 tariffs

As the White House stays mum so far on the status of the Section 232 tariffs originally put in place by President Donald Trump, a coalition of steel consumers is asking President Joe Biden to do away with them as quickly as possible. 

In a letter sent to the White House, the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users says the Trump tariffs “…have hurt small, family-owned manufacturers and the communities in which they built their businesses, while fracturing relations with overseas trading partners and spurring a frenzy of retaliatory trade measures – with little to nothing to show for it at home.”

The coalition consists of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Hands‐On Science Partnership, the Industrial Fasteners Institute, the National Tooling & Machining Association, the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, the Precision Machined Products Association, and the Precision Metalforming Association. 

“The domestic steel industry, which believes the tariffs should remain in place, fails to understand that, without US steel-consuming manufacturers to buy their steel products, any misperceived advantage derived from the tariffs will be useless if their customers go out of business because of high steel prices and lack of supply,” the letter states. 

Current US hot-rolled prices are at an all-time high, hovering around $1,200/short ton. Several buy-side sources have told Kallanish over the past week that sourcing hot- and cold-rolled sheet is difficult, while sourcing hot-dipped galvanized sheet is next to impossible. 

“By jeopardising the ability of businesses to access the steel and aluminium they need, the Trump tariffs have made it more difficult for American manufacturers to compete with finished products imported from overseas,” the letter states. “Once this business moves offshore, it can take years for it to return – if at all.”