Tags: aluminum | steel | tariff | trade

Trump Is Said to Delay Decision on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

Trump Is Said to Delay Decision on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Thursday, 01 March 2018 12:31 PM

President Donald Trump has delayed a decision on imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as his administration weighs a move that could antagonize trading partners from China to Mexico and hurt some domestic industries.

The White House has postponed the decision beyond Thursday, when the president was initially expected to make the announcement, said three people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deliberations aren’t public.

Trump had told aides he wants tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from all countries -- both of which would exceed the most severe option presented to him by the Commerce Department. The president has until April 11 to announce a decision on steel and April 19 for aluminum.

A White House official said early Thursday that there would be an announcement on trade later in the day. Trump is holding a “listening session” on Thursday with chief executives including ArcelorMittal USA’s John Brett, Nucor Corp.’s John Ferriola and Century Aluminum Co.’s Mike Bless, over the investigations.

Steel and aluminum stocks pared earlier advances. Century Aluminum was up 2.2 percent at 11:38 a.m. in in New York after rising as much as 8.5 percent. AK Steel Holding Corp. was up 3 percent after jumping as much as 12 percent. U.S. Steel Corp. advanced 1.8 percent and was up as much as 8.4 percent. Nucor, the largest U.S. producer, climbed 1.6 percent, following a 3.7 percent gain.

Severe Options

Trump has been considering a range of options to curb imports of steel and aluminum, after the Commerce Department concluded that shipments of the two commodities hurt U.S. national security. He’s told aides he wants tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from all countries -- both of which exceed the most severe options presented to Trump by the Commerce Department.

“Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world,” Trump said in a Twitter posting Thursday morning. “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!"

A U.S. move on tariffs may provoke retaliation from China, the world’s biggest steel and aluminum producer. China has already launched a probe into U.S. imports of sorghum, and is studying whether to restrict shipments of U.S. soybeans -- targets that could hurt Trump’s support in some farming states. While China accounts for just a fraction of U.S. imports of the metals, it’s accused of flooding the global market and dragging down prices.

China Talks

It could add to tensions between the world’s two-biggest economies on the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, Liu He, is scheduled to meet Trump’s senior economic team in Washington -- including White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Foreign government officials have traveled to Washington in recent days to voice their concern about tariffs. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo was said to warn the administration about his country’s plans for retaliatory measures. Trump is also under pressure from members of his own Republican party to tread lightly to avoid triggering global retaliation and amid concerns of higher prices for consumer goods.

However, American steel producers and workers have called on Trump to defend their industry as it grapples with the effects of overcapacity in China.

Last April, the president ordered Commerce to study the impact of steel and aluminum imports on national security under seldom-used section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act. Commerce submitted its final reports to the president in January.

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President Donald Trump has delayed a decision on imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as his administration weighs a move that could antagonize trading partners from China to Mexico and hurt some domestic industries.
aluminum, steel, tariff, trade
616
2018-31-01
Thursday, 01 March 2018 12:31 PM
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