President Trump released two proclamations on Thursday announcing he will follow through on Section 232 duties on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Mexico and Canada.
U.S. duties of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum imported from EU member countries, Canada and Mexico will take effect Friday as set forth in proclamations Thursday by President Donald Trump.
“The administration will continue discussions with them and remains open to discussions with other countries,” the White House said in a statement.
Trump on April 30 delayed the imposition of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum from those three trading partners through the month of May.
The EU intends to retaliate with its own tariffs, ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent, against the United States and indicated it could activate those remedies as soon as June 17, according to a Thursday press release.
The EU will additionally undertake a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement case, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in statements.
“The U.S. now leaves us with no choice but to proceed with a WTO dispute settlement case and with the imposition of additional duties on a number of imports from the U.S.,” Juncker said. “We will defend the Union’s interests in full compliance with international trade law.”
Mexico and Canada have also announced plans to retaliate through tariffs.
Canada’s list includes more than 125 U.S. exports, including steel and aluminum products, as well as agricultural goods and finished machinery.
Set to take effect July 1, tariffs will generally be 25 percent for steel products and 10 percent for aluminum, agricultural goods, and machinery.
In a press release, the Mexican Economy Ministry decried the U.S. tariffs, and said it will adopt “equivalent measures” against several U.S. exports, including flat steel, lamps, pork products, cheeses, fruits, and “other products,” as long as the U.S. government maintains the “Section 232” tariffs.
According to Thursday’s tariff proclamations for steel and aluminum, the United States has finalized quota arrangements for steel imports from Brazil and both steel and aluminum imports from Australia and Argentina.
Aluminum imports from Brazil appear to be subject to Section 232 tariffs, based on the proclamations.
Imports of steel from South Korea will remain subject to a quota that was finalized in April, while imports of aluminum from the nation will be subject to tariffs.
Quotas applicable to steel imports from Argentina and Brazil under Harmonized Tariff Schedule subheadings 9903.80.05-9903.80.58 will be effective for articles entered for consumption or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after June 1, and for the 2018 quotas, will take into account imports from each respective country since Jan. 1.
“The administration will continue to monitor steel and aluminum imports and adjust the measures in effect as necessary to protect the national security of the United States,” the White House said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, were among those expressing opposition to the tariffs.
Chamber Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant in a Wednesday statement said that the Section 232 tariffs could ignite a tit-for-tat trade war.
“Extending the reach of these tariffs and quotas to additional countries is certain to provoke widespread retaliation from abroad and would put at risk the economic momentum achieved through the administration’s tax and regulatory reforms,” he said. “We urge the administration to take this risk seriously.”
In a statement, Brady said the tariffs hit “the wrong target,” adding: When it comes to unfairly traded steel and aluminum, Mexico, Canada, and Europe are not the problem—China is. This action puts American workers and families at risk, whose jobs depend on fairly traded products from these important trading partners. And it hurts our efforts to create good-paying U.S. jobs by selling more ‘Made in America’ products to customers in these countries.”
Brady added that the Trump administration “will need” to visit Congress to give answers about “the indiscriminate harm these tariffs are causing our local businesses,” and said the Commerce Department’s product exclusion process “just isn’t working.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Senate Appropriations Commerce Subcommittee on May 10, that while Canada and Mexico export large amounts of steel to the U.S., steel trade with those
nations is mostly balanced.
He also told the panel that Canadian aluminum exports to the U.S. help fulfill U.S.
consumption needs, and Canada isn’t dumping the metal here.
The Commerce Department didn’t respond to an American Shipper question asking why, given Ross’ statement, the Trump administration is following through with tariffs on Canada and Mexico.
“I want to be very clear about one thing: Americans remain our partners, friends, and allies,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a press conference on Thursday. “This is not about the American people. We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail.”
Correction: A previous version of this
article indicated that steel imports from Australia are subject to Section 232 duties. But
steel imports from Australia are exempted from the duties.