US to raise to 35% tariffs on certain steel, aluminum imports from Russia

The US will raise tariffs to 35% on certain steel and aluminum products imported from Russia in a move that will affect 570 different groups of products across various sectors, according to a White House proclamation June 27.

“I have determined that increasing the column 2 rates of duty to 35% ad valorem on certain other products of the Russian Federation, the importation of which has not already been prohibited, is warranted and consistent with the foreign policy interests of the United States,” President Joe Biden said in the proclamation.

The White House did not release information on which specific products would be subject to the higher tariffs. In a separate statement, however, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the list of products the announcement covered would include “steel and aluminum; minerals, ores, and metals; chemicals; arms and ammunition; wood and paper products; aircraft & parts; and automotive parts.”

The raising of “column 2” rates is tied to the US’ previous action of suspending normal trade relations with Russia in April to escalate pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin for the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The US Harmonized Tariff Schedule, which the US International Trade Commission compiled, outlines separate duty rates for favored trade partners (column 1 duties) and non-favored trade partners (column 2 duties).

The April removal of normal trade relations allowed the US to apply column 2 duty rates on imports from Russia until January 2024.

For metals, column 2 duty rates reach up to 20% for finished steel, 18.5% for most unwrought aluminum, 11% for high purity aluminum, and 10.5% for some categories of value-add aluminum products. Duties on these products and others could now potentially reach 35% pending the release of the official list of product categories impacted by today’s proclamation.

Representatives from the US Commerce Department and ITC were not immediately available for comment when S&P Global Commodity Insights contacted them June 27.

The higher duties also apply to imports from Belarus in retaliation for its aid to Russia. The US may restore normal trade status with either country pending permission from Congress.

— Nick Lazzaro