R Street Disappointed by Commerce Department's Steel Imports Report


U.S. President Donald Trump has received recommendations on tariffs for steel imports, including those from South Korea, the U.S. Department of Commerce said Friday. The president is being asked to consider a 7.7 per cent tariff on all aluminum exports from all countries, or a 23.6 per cent tariff on just a few countries: China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.

"The continued rising levels of imports of foreign steel threaten to impair the national security by placing the US steel industry at substantial risk of displacing the basic oxygen furnace and other steelmaking capacity", report stated.

A quota on all steel products from all countries equal to 63% of each country's 2017 exports to the United States.

Trump is expected to make a decision by April.

Trump is facing resistance to tariffs from lawmakers in his own party.

The recommendations pushed up Century Aluminum (CENX) almost 10% on the stock market today, while Alcoa rose just 0.7% after initially soaring. Those measures, which could be announced in the following weeks, are aimed at saving USA steel and aluminum producers, who have struggled to compete with a flood of cheap metals from overseas, particularly from China.

Not suitable time for talks with Pakistan: BJP
On the other hand, Pakistan's concern about Indian government's recourse to whipping up of war hysteria is justified. Sitharam's account includes some very immature words like "Pakistan will have to pay for misadventure".

Trump met with a bipartisan group of USA senators and representatives at the White House last week, signaling he would take at least some action to restrict imports of the two metals. More than two dozen USA steel and steel-related companies and associations wrote Trump a letter on February 2 urging "strong action" to support domestic steel.

"With more than 150 antidumping and countervailing duties on the books, steel is one of the most heavily protected domestic industries", Packard said. Although Trump campaigned on a protectionist platform, he has taken only modest action so far to restrict imports. "Other countries will retaliate, killing the very exports and American jobs this administration seeks to promote".

The meeting also included brief comments by multiple participants on other trade matters, including South Korea (the KORUS FTA is a "very bad trade deal"), China (is "violating the global rules, stealing our intellectual property, overproducing steel products"), Canada (has "treated us very, very unfairly when it comes to lumber and timber"), and NAFTA (the renegotiations are "making real headway" but still working through a number of issues).

If tariff determinations are made, Handschuh continued, these products should be excluded and individual companies shouldn't have to apply for exemptions to import the specialty products.

The Aluminum Association Friday separately said while Commerce said job loss in the primary aluminum sector was 58% between 2013 and 2016, the total industry saw a slight increase in jobs during that period. For example, there is only one remaining USA producer of the high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aerospace.

An aluminum quota of 86.7% of 2017 exports.