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US metals end users urge Biden to drop Section 232 tariffs

  • Author
  • Justine Coyne
  • Editor
  • Richard Rubin
  • Commodity
  • Metals

Pittsburgh — The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users sent a letter to President Joe Biden Feb. 10 requesting the immediate termination of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, stating that the tariffs imposed under former President Donald Trump have damaged metals consuming industries.

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The group said it was pleased to see Biden's executive order issued Jan. 25 to strengthen Buy America and other "made in America" programs that require, among other things, that American steel be used in federally funded projects, however with the tariffs in place and a "broken" exclusion process still in effect, it would be difficult for US manufacturers to compete with global competition.

"The domestic steel industry, which believes the tariffs should remain in place, fails to understand that, without US steel-consuming manufacturers to buy their steel products, any misperceived advantage derived from the tariffs will be useless if their customers go out of business because of high steel prices and lack of supply," the letter states.

The 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum implemented by former President Donald Trump in March 2018 are "contributing to a crisis for US steel- and aluminum-consuming manufacturers just as these companies are needed to help the country recover from the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," the group continued.

CAMMU said its members are facing record steel prices as well as long delivery lead times from domestic mills, causing significant disruptions.

At the same time, the group said the tariffs have left the global structural supply issues unaddressed as international talks to address overcapacity were negatively affected by the tariffs.

"It's time for the US to put counterproductive trade policies in the past," CAMMU said. "We ask that you move at once to terminate the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs and focus instead on re-engaging with our trading partners on a coordinated response to address the root cause of global oversupply in steel and aluminum: excess capacity in China."

CAMMU, which represents more than 30,000 companies in the manufacturing sector and downstream supply chains, was set up in the wake of the Section 232 metals tariffs to oppose the trade measure.