The American Institute for International Steel, which represents foreign steel producers, sent a letter to President Trump on Thursday on behalf of the 1.3 million people who depend on steel imports for their livelihoods. AIIS President Richard Chriss urged the administration not to impose new tariffs and quotas on imported steel products that would benefit only a few while hurting so many in the manufacturing industry.
“Imported steel does, indeed, have an effect on the national security of the United States – a positive one,” said Chriss. Imported steel and its competitive pricing allows the U.S to provide troops with more armored vehicles, guns and protective plates, he said, as well as providing steel for critical infrastructure needs.
Domestic steel producers have a 75 percent share of the total market and defense consumes only 3 percent of the nation’s steel output. In addition, imported steel mostly comes from friendly countries such as Canada, Brazil and nations in the European Union, said Chriss, sources that would not interrupt the supply of steel to the U.S. in a time of crisis.
America’s ports would be especially hard hit by restrictive measures on steel imports, said Chriss. Steel port activity supports 1.3 million jobs and $240 billion of economic activity, according to a 2017 report by Martin Associates.
“Imposing new tariffs or quotas on steel imports would have an immediate negative impact on many Americans whose paychecks depend on the steel trade. It would almost certainly invite retaliation by other countries. As history shows, tit-for-tat trade retaliation never ends well. There are no winners. Such an outcome would pose a major threat to global stability and security.”
Chriss praised the administration for leading the United States “into an era of robust economic expansion, low unemployment, and a booming stock market.” He urged the president, however, not to put his achievements at risk by implementing protectionist measures at the expense of the nation’s security and economic health.
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