US President Trump threatens China with sanctions on trade imbalance

Bloomberg’s Tina Davis reports on aluminum tariffs said to be proposed by the U.S. Commerce Department

Bloomberg’s Tina Davis reports on aluminum tariffs said to be proposed by the U.S. Commerce Department

The long-awaited unveiling of Commerce's "Section 232" national security reviews of the two industries contained global tariff options of at least 24 percent on all steel products from all countries, and at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum products from all countries.

The goal of these tariffs would be to increase domestic production of steel and grow the U.S. steel workforce.

Steel stocks soared on the recommendations, with U.S. Steel up 9.7 percent, AK Steel up 9.9 percent and the broader S&P 1500 steel index up 4 percent. Although Trump campaigned on a protectionist platform, he has taken only modest action so far to restrict imports.

Speculation about possible US action has roiled the metals industry.

"As more than 2.2 million American jobs depend on our nation's vibrant beer industry, we urge President Trump to consider the adverse impact trade restrictions on aluminum will have on American jobs before making his final decision". Our imports are almost four times our exports. The report recommends that a process be put in place to allow the Secretary to grant requests from USA companies to exclude specific products if the US lacks sufficient domestic capacity or for national security considerations. USA steel plants now operate at about 73 percent of capacity, while aluminum plants operate at just 48 percent capacity.

Ross said each of the measures should enable US steel producers to operate at 80% average capacity utilization rates or better based on available capacity in 2017.

"You see what's happened with our steel and aluminum industries". Aluminum prices climbed almost 2% on the news. After the United States lost a challenge at the World Trade Organization, the tariffs were withdrawn, but not before an estimated 200,000 jobs and almost $4 billion in wages were lost in just 18 months, primarily in steel-consuming industries. Employment in the steel industry has declined by 35 percent since 1998. And only one company in the country produces the high-quality aluminum alloy used for military aerospace purposes.

The department said Ross will not announce U.S. President Donald Trump's decision on how to deal with the surge in steel and aluminum imports after U.S. producers said those products were unfairly hurting them.

At least a 53% tariff on steel imports from Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, with a quota by product on steel imports from all other countries equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the U.S.

A quota on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the United States.

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