Trump to Impose Tariffs on Imported Steel, Aluminum

Renee Passal and Associated Press
Updated: March 01, 2018 05:51 PM

President Donald Trump has told steel and aluminum executives that he'll impose import tariffs 'next week' in a bid to boost U.S. manufacturers.

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His words to the executives: "You will have protection for the first time in a long while."

The president spoke at a hastily called meeting White House after hours of confusion over what - if anything - he was going to announce.

Trump tells reporters the import tariffs will be 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, and that they will be finalized next week.

"Without steel and aluminum, your country's not the same. And we need it," Trump said. "We need it for defense. We need great steel makers, great aluminum makers for defense."

Trump ordered a Commerce Department review of imports of both metals last year. He has until April to formally decide whether to support the department's recommendation to impose tariffs.

The CEO of U.S. Steel was sitting next to Trump during a press event. Dave Burritt said, "This is vital for the interest of the United States. This is our moment. It's really important we get this right."

Steelworkers shared their reactions. Cliff Tobey, President of Local 2660 for Keetac, said in a statement, "I'm very encouraged by President Trump's announcement of tariffs on steel imports under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act. For too long, laws such as these have not been utilized to the detriment of American steelworker jobs. I look forward to the details and hope that the tariffs don't see extensive exemptions on products and countries. We've spent a tremendous amount of energy lobbying this administration to protect the steel industry. And this, at first glance, seems to indicate they listened."

The USW International President, Leo Gerard, said, "We need to work to finalize the design of relief and implement it. We are more than willing to work with the Administration to ensure that cheaters are held accountable and to resolve this quickly so that we can rebuild our nation's manufacturing sector."

The CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, Lourenco Goncalves, testified during the investigation period. Thursday, Cliffs sent a statement from him. It said, "We applaud and thank President Trump for taking real action under Section 232 to punish the perpetrators and enablers of unfairly traded steel. The 25 percent tariffs to be imposed next week will support our ability to continue to produce iron ore pellets and steel in our country, enhancing a vibrant manufacturing economy and our national security."

The move has raised concerns that it could launch a trade war with China.

Stocks were tumbling Thursday after the news about the tariffs.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said, "The president's announcement that he plans to levy higher taxes on materials that Wisconsin's manufacturers and consumers purchase is concerning. I plan to work with my colleagues and the administration to ensure fair, robust trade policies that protect our state's workers and consumers."

Trump tweeted about the issue Thursday morning:


Renee Passal and Associated Press

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