The U.S. steel industry reacted with enthusiasm to the president’s decision to impose a 25 percent tariff under Section 232 on steel imports to the United States.
Nucor Chairman and CEO John Ferriola said in a statement, “The president has consistently been a strong advocate for holding other countries accountable that systematically and flagrantly violate international trade agreements and free market principles. We are pleased that the president has decided to use all the tools at his disposal to send a clear message to foreign competitors that dumping steel products into our market will no longer be tolerated. “
ArcelorMittal USA CEO John Brett said, “We believe the remedies will provide the additional measures required to ensure the competitiveness of the steel industry in the U.S. by making it increasingly difficult for unfairly traded imports and circumvention efforts to impact the industry’s ability to address the nation’s security interests.”
AK Steel applauded Commerce and the president for the broad-based relief to the steel industry. “We agree that the ongoing high level of imports is a threat to the national security of our country,” said CEO Roger Newport. “This is particularly true for electrical steels, which are used to manufacture power generation, transmission and distribution transformers that serve as the backbone of our nation’s electric power grid. It is vital that action be extended downstream to electrical steel intensive products necessary for our electrical grid, including laminations, cores, core assemblies, and transformers in order to prevent circumvention of the Section 232 remedy.”
U.S. Steel CEO Dave Burritt commented in this morning’s meeting at the White House, “This is our moment, and it’s really important that we get this right. We trust your judgment on this issue,” said Burritt to the president. “As somebody that has global views and believes in free trade, we know when it’s completely unfair. We are not protectionists. We want a level playing field… It’s for our employees; to support our customers. And when we get this right, it will be great for the United States of America. We have to get this done.”
Cleveland Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves said the action will “punish the perpetrators and enablers of unfairly traded steel.” He added, “Artificially cheap steel boosted by subsidies, dumping, and circumvention are not signs of competitiveness; these are just signs of blatant disregard to real free trade and to our trade laws. Once free from these unfair practices, we will finally have a level playing field for steel in the United States.”
The United Steelworkers praised the tariff levels that will be imposed but said focus should be placed “on the countries that have created the problem, and do not participate in helping to promote a solution.”
“Canada is not the problem,” said USW International President Leo Gerard. “The United States and Canada have integrated manufacturing markets and our union represents trade-impacted workers in both nations. In addition, the defense and intelligence relationship between the countries is unique and integral to our security. Any solution must exempt Canadian production. At the same time, Canada must commit to robust enforcement and enhance its cooperation to address global overcapacity in steel and aluminum.”
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