Trade Cases

Manufacturers Form New Coalition to Oppose Tariffs

Written by Tim Triplett

U.S. manufacturing groups claiming to represent more than 30,000 users of steel and aluminum announced a new coalition Wednesday to oppose the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariffs.

The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users includes the Industrial Fasteners Institute, the National Tooling & Machining Association, the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, the Precision Machined Parts Association, the Precision Metalforming Association and the American Wire Producer Association.

The industry groups and their supporters dispute the Commerce Department’s determination that trade restrictions were needed to enable U.S. steel producers to operate at a profitable capacity utilization. “This central claim that tariffs will enable producers to operate at an 80 percent or better capacity utilization rate is at the heart of the rationale for these steel tariffs,” said supporter Richard Chriss, president of the American Institute for International Steel, at an April 18 press conference. “And this rationale is explicitly stated in official government reports. Yet despite its critical importance to this debate, this assertion has been little noted in our public policy discussions and has not been thoroughly and critically evaluated until now.”

Chriss pointed to a new report produced by consultants at Martin Associates that contends there is no correlation between steel imports and steel capacity utilization. The report concludes that the imposition of steep tariffs on imports will not bolster capacity utilization.

The Commerce Department reportedly has dismissed the findings of the April 18 report stating, “it was paid for by a consortium of foreign steel companies and importers, and so it is not surprising that it supports their interests,” reported Inside U.S. Trade.

AIIS hopes the administration will “see the new facts” in the report and reconsider the tariffs, Chriss said.

Latest in Trade Cases