The United Steelworkers union is calling for the United States to negotiate stronger NAFTA rules of origin. The union charges that the rules negotiated more than 25 years ago do not reflect current economic reality and sourcing patterns.
Increased imported content from China and other nations has been detrimental to U.S. production in North America, claims the union.
World Trade Online reported this morning that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told a U.S. Senator the Section 232 review on steel will not be ready until after tax reform legislation has been completed. This is in line with what President Trump said in July when he told The Wall Street Journal, “We’re waiting till we get everything finished up between health care and taxes and maybe even infrastructure.”
The U.S. Commerce Department today announced an affirmative preliminary determination in the countervailing duty investigation on exports of metal tool chests and cabinets from China. Commerce calculated preliminary subsidy rates ranging from 17.32 percent to 32.07 percent.
At a Section 232 briefing to the Ways & Means Committee on Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acknowledged the complexity of initiating broad trade action against imports of steel and aluminum.
A "voluntary" agreement to address steel overcapacity was suggested that would allow countries to negotiate a solution to overcapacity and the resulting import surges.
Trade talks with China this week ended in a stalemate after the U.S. pressed for "more fair" trade terms. The discussions were described as "a frank exchange," but little if any agreement was reached on bilateral trade and economic issues, according to a senior U.S. official. A press conference following the meeting was canceled and no joint statement was issued.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, "China acknowledged our shared objective to reduce the trade deficit, which both sides will work cooperatively to achieve."
United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard says the Trump administration's objectives for NAFTA don't go far enough.
In a statement following publication of the objectives by the U.S. Trade Representative, Gerard said that although the USW has long supported renegotiation of NAFTA, protection for workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico has been supplanted by corporate interests.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of trade attorney Lewis Leibowitz and do not necessarily reflect those of Steel Market Update. There will be more discussion about trade, trade suits and Section 232 in our upcoming SMU Steel Summit Conference, which will include presentations by Leibowitz and others on both sides of the trade debate.
Steel is in the forefront of foreign and economic policy once again. The country awaits a decision from the president about restricting steel imports into the United States to protect domestic steel producers. The decision, expected before now, has been delayed in part at least because of controversy within the administration about whether import restrictions would do more harm than good.
Not the Bourbon, Please!
U.S. bourbon exports are on the table for a retaliatory tax should Section 232 cut off EU steel exports. Bourbon, made almost exclusively in Kentucky, accounted for 20 percent of the $654 million of U.S. spirits sold to the European Union in 2016, according to a recent article in The Guardian.
The leaders of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank urged G20 leaders today to work together to stimulate trade by reducing trade barriers and curbing trade-distorting subsidies while simultaneously seeking better policies to support workers who have lost their jobs.
A joint letter from WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stressed that the “economic wellbeing of billions of people depends on trade and that deeper trade integration coupled with supportive domestic policies can help boost incomes and accelerate global growth.”
What trade deficit? That’s what Canada is saying about its trade in steel with the United States. According to data released this week by the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC, the U.S. in 2016 exported $9.7 billion of iron and steel products to Canada while importing $7.4 billion. That is actually a trade surplus for the U.S. of $2.3 billion.