Trade Cases

Response to Senate Motion to Reclaim Trade Authority

Written by Sandy Williams

Passage of the Senate motion to give Congress a role in deciding Section 232 tariffs was met with approval by the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU). The United Steelworkers offered qualified approval, but called for caution.

“The Coalition applauds the Senate for taking this important first step to reassert its authority in the implementation of Section 232 tariffs. Senators are listening to their constituents—small and medium-sized manufacturers across the country—who are facing the real-world unintended consequences of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. These consequences for U.S. manufacturers include price spikes of more than 50 percent, delivery delays and the inability to source the steel and aluminum they need from both foreign and domestic suppliers. The result is lost business to overseas competitors who can purchase steel at globally competitive prices. The Coalition calls on the Trump administration to end these damaging tariffs as soon as possible.”

The United Steelworkers agree that Congress should have oversight authority on U.S. trade laws, but warned Congress not to jeopardize potential benefits from Section 232 action.

Said the USW in a statement: “Today’s expected vote is a marker that Congress wants a role in evaluating relief under Section 232 of U.S. trade laws. It is without question that Congress has oversight authority. But, it’s a bit ironic that the Republican-led Congress wants to exercise that authority now after it essentially sat on its hands for years during which unfair trade and surging imports of steel and aluminum devastated the American industries and destroyed jobs.

“Now, action is under way to ensure that the United States sustains sufficient steel and aluminum production to protect national security. Billions of dollars in new investment and tens of thousands of jobs have already been put in motion since the Section 232 investigations began. Congress must be careful not to jeopardize national security, scuttle that investment, and throw thousands of workers into the unemployment lines.

“In addition, opponents of the tariffs must stop deliberately misleading the public about national security. What does pose a threat to national security is continual diminishment of U.S. steel and aluminum-making capacity caused by unfair trade practices, mostly by China. The tariffs are intended to shore up U.S. capacity to ensure its availability for defense and our critical infrastructure.”

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