Washington, D.C. – The Steel Manufacturers Association welcomes President Trump’s proclamation instituting tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports, effective in 15 days. U.S. steel producers have supported broad and effective action under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, designed to remove the threat that these imports are having on the U.S. national security.
“We are optimistic that these tariffs will adjust imports to provide a level playing field and ensure that the steel industry in our country is able to serve our national security needs. We look forward to the measures being in effect for a period of sufficient duration for companies to reinvest in the steel industry. We also support limited exceptions for key allies, including Mexico and Canada, well-regulated exclusions for products not available from U.S. producers, and mechanisms to avoid transshipment and circumvention of the tariffs. Effective measures will allow the domestic industry to preserve and strengthen our national defense industrial base,” said Philip K. Bell, President of SMA.
For too long, U.S. producers have faced a relentless inflow of imports due to global excess capacity created by foreign government subsidies and unfair practices. Since the 2009 financial crisis, China rapidly expanded its capacity and shifted exports onto global markets. U.S. imports increased 15 percent in 2017 over the previous year, and accounted for more than a quarter of U.S. steel consumption. U.S. capacity utilization averaged 75 percent in 2017, an operating rate far below the 85 percent necessary for a healthy industry. “In the face of the glut of steel brought on by unchecked Chinese expansion,” Bell noted, “President Trump has taken decisive action necessary for the U.S. steel producers to survive and thrive.”
Bell added, “Our members are excited to grow production, open new facilities and reopen idled mills once effective measures are implemented. These are companies that have made themselves lean and efficient, with low man-hours per ton produced, good access to raw materials and low energy costs. U.S. producers are well positioned to serve their customers.”
SMA is North America’s largest steel industry trade association, and the primary association for electric arc furnace steel producers. SMA’s 25 producer member companies account for over seventy-five percent of total domestic steelmaking capacity. SMA members have operations in Canada, Mexico, 43 U.S. states and 115 congressional districts. For more information visit SMA’s website at www.steelnet.org