Steel/aluminum tariffs debate continues; exclusion process explained

Paul Nathanson, executive director of the Coalition of America Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU), recently published an editorial in the sheet metal Industry’s SNIPS magazine analyzing the impact of the Section 232 import tariffs on steel and aluminum.

“The tariffs were supposed to revitalize the steel industry in the U.S. and boost jobs and manufacturing. Unfortunately, evidence shows that the tariffs have had the opposite effect. Steel producers’ stocks are sinking, and U.S. steel recently announced that it is idling plants in Indiana and Illinois, laying off hundreds of workers. NMLK recently announced similar layoffs in Pennsylvania,” Paul said.

“The problem comes down to basic economics. A tariff is a tax and if you tax an item the price of that item goes up, resulting in purchasers buying less of that item. That’s what’s happening to the domestic steel industry today,” Paul added.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has issued a user guide for its portal for Section 232 exclusion requests. The portal lists exclusions approved to date and provides a place to submit requests. Tariff exclusions are retroactive to the date the request for exclusion was accepted. DOC also provided a comprehensive Q&A about the Section 232 exclusion process.

As a reminder, tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel currently impact all countries except Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea. Additionally, 10-percent tariffs on imported aluminum currently impact all countries except Argentina, Australia, Canada and Mexico.