"I want to keep prices down, but I also want to make sure that we have a steel industry and an aluminum industry, and we do need that for national defense", Trump said. "And so what we're talking about is tariffs and or quotas". The alert by the European Commission also followed Trump's decision earlier in January to impose tariffs on US imports of solar panels and washing machines on the basis of rarely used "safeguard" rules.
What he decides to do holds major consequences for Canada - the biggest supplier of both steel and aluminum south of the border. Trump take action based on the recommendations he receives, or he may opt not to take any action.
According to the Aluminum Association, there are five US smelting facilities that are operating with three partial curtailments.
Trump said the US steel and aluminum industries "are being decimated by dumping and from many countries". Our imports are almost four times our exports. He could use tariffs or specifically target companies.
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The meeting also included brief comments by multiple participants on other trade matters, including South Korea (the KORUS FTA is a "very bad trade deal"), China (is "violating the global rules, stealing our intellectual property, overproducing steel products"), Canada (has "treated us very, very unfairly when it comes to lumber and timber"), and NAFTA (the renegotiations are "making real headway" but still working through a number of issues). After the United States lost a challenge at the World Trade Organization, the tariffs were withdrawn, but not before an estimated 200,000 jobs and almost $4 billion in wages were lost in just 18 months, primarily in steel-consuming industries. U.S. Steel up 2 percent, and AK Steel up 1.1 percent. For certain types of steel, such as for electrical transformers, only one USA producer remains. Aluminum prices climbed almost 2% on the news.
The Aluminum Association Friday separately said while Commerce said job loss in the primary aluminum sector was 58% between 2013 and 2016, the total industry saw a slight increase in jobs during that period. The tariffs and quotas would vary from country to country, with the highest ones going to aluminum from China and Russian Federation, among other countries, and the highest steel tariffs on imports from countries including Brazil, China and Russian Federation. And only one company in the country produces the high-quality aluminum alloy used for military aerospace purposes.
Commerce issued a statement and Secretary Wilbur Ross held a phone briefing with the media to explain the findings and recommendations of the report, which was handed to President Donald Trump January 19.
An aluminum quota of 86.7% of 2017 exports.