US trade groups ask Biden to retain 232

A coalition of US steel trade groups is asking president-elect Joe Biden to retain President Donald Trump’s 232 tariffs, Kallanish learns from a joint letter. 

The American Iron and Steel Institute, Steel Manufacturers Association, United Steelworkers labour union, The Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports, and the American Institute of Steel Construction all point to the necessity of the 2018 tariffs to combat growing global overcapacity and repair the damage wrought by Covid-19. 

“Given the critical role of the industry to our nation’s defense and its critical infrastructure, the US government imposed a comprehensive program of tariffs and quotas on steel imports in 2018 to protect our national security,” the coalition says in a jointly-signed letter. “This allowed the industry to restart idled mills, rehire laid-off workers, and begin investing tens of billions of dollars in new and upgraded plants. Unfortunately, the steel industry’s recovery was set back by the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused a significant drop in demand last spring, forcing painful job cuts as steel mills, fabricators and pipe and tube mills either cut back production or shut down entirely.”

Citing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the coalition predicts global overcapacity hit 700 million tonnes in 2020, or eight times the output of the US. 

“China, Vietnam and Turkey, among others, continue to increase their steel production even as the pandemic has caused demand for steel to drop around the world. Others, such as Korea, Russia, Ukraine and Indonesia, continue to export large and increasing shares of their steel production to other markets,” the coalition writes. “We must not repeat the experience of the 1990s, when the demand shock of the Asian Financial Crisis resulted in surges in steel imports from many regions of the world and led to widespread steel industry bankruptcies and job losses.”

President-elect Joe Biden is slated for inauguration on 20 January.