US Commerce Department recommends hefty tariffs on steel imports

White House Holds Meeting to Discuss Aluminum and Steel Trade Actions

It's not a big surprise, given Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's well-known protectionist sentiments, and the very nature of the rarely used legal authority Trump asked him to explore, which more or less presumes ill will from countries that are expanding exports to the U.S. But it's still big breaking news that Ross is recommending that the president impose very large tariffs (and possibly other trade-restricting sanctions) on countries from which we import steel and aluminum products. Under this option, the United States would also impose a quota limiting all other countries to the aluminum and steel they exported to the United States past year. "I look forward to his decision on any potential course of action".

Meanwhile, growth of USA exports to the region has been the slowest among all of the bloc's major trading partners.

Trump is required to make a decision on the steel recommendations by April 11, and on the aluminum recommendations by April 19, according to the report.

-Impose a quota on steel and aluminum imports from everywhere, limiting each country 63 percent of the steel and 86.7 percent of the aluminum they shipped to the USA past year.

The measures are meant to increase US production to 80 percent of capacity in both industries.

But Commerce said the goal of the measures is to boost domestic aluminium and steel production.

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The tariffs and quotas would be in addition to any duties already in place.

The findings are part of an investigation into the impact of the oversupply of steel and aluminum, and whether it undermines U.S. national security. Any exclusions granted could result in changed tariffs or quotas for the remaining products to maintain the overall effect.

"We strongly support today's release by the Department of Commerce of the Section 232 Aluminum Report".

"Each of these remedies is meant to increase domestic steel production from its present 73% of capacity to approximately an 80% operating rate, the minimum rate needed for the long-term viability of the industry", Ross said in a press conference.

A tariff of 23.6% on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.

"For example, there is only one remaining USA producer of the high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aerospace", the report said. A quota on imports from all countries to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the U.S. At present, domestic steel plants are running at 73 percent of capacity and aluminum plants at 48 percent.

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