During the previous Administration, to combat China’s hostile trade practices and economic grasps on critical supply chains, former President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese imports of various products and materials. By invoking Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which gives the President broad authority to restrict imports into the United States for national security reasons, former President Trump imposed tariffs on steel, aluminum, derivative steel articles, and derivative aluminum articles at rates ranging from 10% to 25%. Through Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which allows the President to impose tariffs against countries that make “unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory trade practices,” former President Trump imposed tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of domestic imports from China on a wide range of critical supplies.
How Have These Tariffs Impacted American Steel Fabricators?
These tariffs have served as an essential lifeline for steel fabricators across the industry. Prior to Section 232 tariffs, which imposed a 25% tariff on steel, our members watched how imported steel products broadly impacted the industry with anti-competitive pressure on the domestic producers of steel products and raised concerns that if not addressed, it could drastically hamper or destroy the domestic steel fabrication industry, resulting in deep national security concerns as these specialized skills fade in our nation’s workforce.
Steel plate fabricators create products vital to our national infrastructure, such as equipment for agricultural production and storage, tanks for fuel storage, piping for fuel and chemical distribution, and vital products for water systems. If the import of foreign steel products continued at the same rate, it would have inevitably led to fabrication businesses declining or failing.
Where We Stand
STI/SPFA supports the continuation of both Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs as they prevent our members’ products from being undercut by foreign adversaries. We support any related measures that can bolster the domestic steel industry and ensure that manufacturers up and down the supply chain can access the resources they need.