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17 February 2018, 12:43 | Vickie Mathis
White House Holds Meeting to Discuss Aluminum and Steel Trade Actions
The Commerce Department, in a report published Friday, proposed a 53 percent tariff on all steel products from 12 countries, including China, Brazil, India, South Korea and Vietnam. Trump has the latitude to choose between these types of options or even enter talks with producers to find solutions.
Aluminum imports have risen to 90% of total demand for primary aluminum, up from 66% in 2012. Among steelmakers, Nucor (NUE) the largest American producer, climbed nearly 3.9% after previously rising 6%, the biggest intraday increase since November 2016.
Nucor, the largest U.S. steel maker, climbed 4%, while U.S. Steel and AK Steel soared more than 10% apiece.
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. The investigation took place under the seldom-used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Ross said in June past year that the investigations would be concluded "very shortly". "As they dump steel, they pay tariffs, substantial tariffs, which means the United States would actually make a lot of money". It could also inflate manufacturing and consumer prices in the USA, and inflame tensions with allies such as Japan, India, Germany and Canada.
In late January, the European Union gave Trump a fresh warning about any US curbs on imports from Europe by pledging rapid retaliation, highlighting the persistent risk of a trans-Atlantic trade war. The second was a 23.6 percent tariff on China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam, with all other countries subject to a quota equal to the amount they exported the United States in 2017. The first was a 7.7 percent tariff on all countries and all products.
A quota on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the United States. He told those attending that quotas and tariffs are options on the table. At a meeting this week at the White House, at least seven Republican lawmakers argued against any action that might set off a tit-for-tat response from China or other countries.
President Donald Trump and his administration announced the so-called Section 232 investigation into steel and aluminum imports in April.
The meeting also included brief comments by multiple participants on other trade matters, including South Korea (the KORUS FTA is a "very bad trade deal"), China (is "violating the worldwide rules, stealing our intellectual property, overproducing steel products"), Canada (has "treated us very, very unfairly when it comes to lumber and timber"), and NAFTA (the renegotiations are "making real headway" but still working through a number of issues). The American Automotive Policy Council, a Washington-based trade group that represents GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, warned in May that import restrictions would hurt the vehicle industry and its workers. Imports of steel increasing a year ago on anticipation that new tariffs would elevate costs.
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