Report: Steel and Aluminum Imports 'Threaten to Impair National Security.'

Renee Passal
Updated: February 16, 2018 10:52 PM

A good sign for our domestic steel industry. The Commerce Department is saying that imported aluminum and steel threaten U.S. national security and is urging President Donald Trump to impose tariffs or quotas to boost American production. Results from the highly anticipated Section 232 investigation were released on Friday.

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The recommendations unveiled by Secretary Wilbur Ross are likely to escalate tensions with China and other U.S. trading partners. Stepped-up production of steel and aluminum, especially by China, has driven down prices and hurt American producers.

The Commerce Department is recommending tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports, higher tariffs on imports from specific countries or a quota on imports.

The measures are meant to increase U.S. production to 80 percent of capacity in both industries. U.S. steel plants are running at 73 percent of capacity and aluminum plants at 48 percent.

A statement from the United Steelworkers said, "It is absolutely clear from today's release of the Section 232 Aluminum and Steel Reports that Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has a comprehensive understanding of the unrelenting attacks and challenges that these industries critical to our nation's security are facing from unfairly traded imports." 

Also, the statement said, "These recommendations have the potential to focus on the bad actors in the world that historically and systemically cheat in international trade. We applaud that approach."

Senator Amy Klobuchar provided this comment: "Since the 232 investigation was announced last April I have urged swift and decisive action to level the playing field for workers in Minnesota and across the country. Today's recommendations are an important step, and now the President must move forward in a way that best protects our steel industry, our national security, and our economy."

Senator Tina Smith also sent a statement: "I'm pleased to say we're getting results. While I look forward to reviewing the full report, based on initial reports, the Department's recommendation to levy new tariffs on foreign steel looks like really good news, and I've already urged President Trump to take action on the recommendations as soon as possible. I will continue to engage with the President on this issue to press for action that is good for Minnesota."

Trump has until April 19 to make a decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Renee Passal

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