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US Commerce Secretary to reveal options for steel, aluminum tariffs
March 22 2018, 05:50 | Alonzo Simpson
With decision on steel, aluminum import restrictions looming, MEMA outlines impact for vehicle suppliers
The U.S. Department of Commerce has concluded that steel imports have an adverse effect on national security and harm American steel producers, such as Nucor in Auburn.
If the president accepts any of the recommendations from the Commerce Department's report on aluminum imports, it will dramatically increase the cost of aluminum in the USA and put at risk American jobs in the beer industry, as well other industries that are users of aluminum.
"On an average month, China produces almost as much steel as the USA does in a year".
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he hoped the proposals "are the beginning of efforts by this administration to finally get tough on China".
Ross said that the decline in production capacity is "weakening our internal economy and may impair our national security", in the report.
It's threatening to clobber worldwide steel and aluminum imports with tariffs.
What the Commerce Department found is that the United States is the largest importer of steel in the world. He said, for example, that only one US company now produces a high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aircraft.
The Commerce Department is recommending steep tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.
The American steel industry has loudly pushed for help from Trump.
The tariffs and quotas would be in addition to any duties already in place.
The steel and aluminum industries have been fixated on the cases for almost a year.
The problem with antidumping and countervailing cases, Ross said, is they are "required to be quite precise as to product and company" and "serial offenders can avoid them by transshipping through other countries without processing or by shipping the end product".
The department said Ross will not announce Trump's decision on how to deal with the surge in steel and aluminium imports, which United States producers have said are unfairly hurting them.
Senator Pat Toomey cautioned the president to proceed cautiously under Section 232 for national security reasons, arguing that US defense needs account for only about 3 percent of domestic steel consumption.
Aluminum imports have risen to 90% of total demand for primary aluminum, up from 66% in 2012. For example, there is only one remaining US producer of the high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aerospace. As of February 15, 2018, the US had two antidumping and countervailing duty orders in place on aluminum, both against China, and there are four ongoing investigations against China.
The country-specific aluminum tariff option would impose a 23.6 percent tariff on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.
A third option called for Trump to impose global quotas based on 63 percent of each country's 2017 steel exports and based on 87 percent of their aluminum exports to the United States.
For aluminum, the secretary presented a similar array of three options.