Fri Feb 23, 2018
In a press release from the Department of Commerce, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has proposed a 24 percent global tariff on steel shipments coming to the U.S. and a 7.7 percent tariff on aluminum imports. As an alternative, the report's recommendations call for quotas on steel products from all countries equal to 63 percent of each country’s 2017 exports to the United States and quotas on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.
The recommendations were part of investigations carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. The report found that found that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security,” as defined by Section 232.
In particular, the report found that global excess steel capacity is 700 million tons, or seven times the annual total of U.S. steel consumption, and that China is the largest producer and exporter of steel and the largest source of excess steel capacity.
As of Feb. 15, 2018, the U.S. had 169 anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders in place on steel, of which 29 are against China, and there are 25 ongoing investigations.
As for aluminum, the report points out that aluminum imports have risen to 90 percent of total demand for primary aluminum, up from 66 percent in 2012.
The reports are currently under consideration by the president, who can take a range of actions, or no action, based on the analysis and recommendations provided in the reports. Action could include making modifications to the courses of action proposed, such as adjusting percentages.
The president is required to make a decision on the steel recommendations by April 11, and on the aluminum recommendations by April 19.