Trump weighs tariffs, quotas on U.S. steel, aluminum imports

Politics


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was considering a range of options to address steel and aluminum imports that he said were unfairly hurting U.S. producers, including tariffs and quotas.

Trump’s comments came in a meeting with a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives. Some of the lawmakers urged him to act decisively to save steel and aluminum producers in their states, but others urged caution because higher prices would hurt manufacturers.

Trump is weighing a list of options presented a month ago by the U.S. Commerce Department in a “Section 232” trade case looking at whether restrictions on steel and aluminum are needed to protect national security.

“What we’re talking about it tariffs and/or quotas,” Trump said to the group.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting on trade with members of Congress at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“Part of the options would be tariffs coming in. As they dump steel, they pay tariffs, substantial tariffs, which means the United States would actually make a lot of money.”

Trump now has until around April 11 to decide whether to impose steel restrictions, and April 20 to decide on aluminum restrictions.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting on trade with members of Congress at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Commerce Department has not revealed its recommendations.

But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the lawmakers that Section 232 powers “can be applied in a much more surgical way” that could lead to tariffs on imports from certain countries and quotas from other nations suspected of transshipping products.

Steelmakers recently urged Trump to take broad action to reduce steel imports to curb global excess steel production capacity, largely in China..

Steel and aluminum users, meanwhile, have urged caution in any restrictions to avoid disruptions or price spikes in the raw materials used in everything from autos to appliances and aircraft and construction.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Makini Brice, Susan Heavey, David Lawder Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown



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