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  • DATVF.LAXDAL
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  • DATVF.SEALAX
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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TLT.USA
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American Shipper

NEWS FLASH: Trump to authorize ‘Section 232’ tariffs on steel, aluminum next week

President Donald Trump revealed Thursday he will assess 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum “for a long period of time.”

   President Donald Trump told business executives during a meeting open to press on Thursday that he will assess 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum “for a long period of time.”
   Trump said the official “signing” to authorize tariffs pursuant to respective “Section 232” investigations on the national security impacts of steel and aluminum imports will take place next week.
   “You’ll have protection for a long time in a while,” Trump said, according to reports distributed from the White House press pool. “You’ll have to regrow your industries; that’s all I’m asking.”
   Pool reports characterized the meeting as a “listening session” that also included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
   During the session, U.S. Steel CEO Dave Burritt asserted that supporters of the announced tariffs “are not protectionists,” but just “want a level playing field,” according to the reports.
   “Pretty much all of you will be immediately expanding if we give you that level playing field,” Trump reportedly said. “What’s been allowed to go on for decades is disgraceful.”
   Reports on the Section 232 investigations that the Commerce Department sent to Trump in January included three trade remedy options in each case of steel and aluminum imports.
   For both steel and aluminum imports, the reports recommended assessing blanket tariffs, broad import quotas, or tariffs targeting specific countries.
   Other meeting attendees included ArcelorMittal CEO John Brett, Nucor CEO John Ferriola, and Century Aluminum CEO Mike Bless.
   Officials from the European Commission, however, were quick to condemn Trump’s announcement of what they consider to be “unfair” tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
   “We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect US domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said in a statement. “Protectionism cannot be the answer to our common problem in the steel sector. Instead of providing a solution, this move can only aggravate matters.
   He said the EU, which has been a close ally of the U.S. for many years, “will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk. I had the occasion to say that the EU would react adequately and that’s what we will do. The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests. The commission will bring forward in the next few days a proposal for WTO-compatible countermeasures against the US to rebalance the situation.”
   “These U.S. measures will have a negative impact on transatlantic relations and on global markets,” said European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. “In addition, they will raise costs and reduce choice for U.S. consumers of steel and aluminum, including industries that import these commodities.
   “The EU will seek dispute settlement consultations with the U.S. in Geneva at the earliest opportunity,” she said. “The commission will monitor market developments and if necessary will propose WTO-compatible safeguard action to preserve the stability of the EU market.”
   Malmström said the “root cause” of issues within the steel and aluminum industries is “global overcapacity caused by non-market based production,” which “can only be addressed at the source and by working with the key countries involved.”
   “This go-it-alone action by the U.S. will not help,” she said.

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