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PMPA Press Release: U.S. Manufacturers Concerned Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Will Cost Jobs

Friday March 09, 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: Miles Free

U.S. Manufacturers Concerned Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Will Cost Jobs

Washington, D.C. – The Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) today expressed concern that the imposition of tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel will lead to the loss of manufacturing jobs that will far outweigh any employment gains in the steel and aluminum industries. Even with certain trading partners exempted from the tariffs, these taxes on essential raw materials will simply lead to the importation of more precision machined products entering the U.S. with foreign steel and aluminum all coming in tariff-free. 

Even when the government excluded Canada and Mexico from the 201 Steel Tariffs in 2002, the U.S. still lost 200,000 American manufacturing jobs, more than all those employed at every U.S. steel business combined. A recent study showed that the 232 tariffs will cause a net loss of 146,000 American manufacturing workers. 

“We had hoped the administration would take a broader look at the impact these tariffs will have on the entire manufacturing sector, including the 6.5 million Americans employed in steel using jobs,” said Miles Free, Director of Industry Research and Technology at PMPA. “Despite averaging roughly 35 employees, the typical PMPA member spends $2.3 million annually on steel, meaning a 25% tariff would cost each of our American businesses nearly $600,000, money we should instead spend on growing our businesses, adding more workers and expanding apprenticeship programs,” continued Mr. Free.

On March 8, President Trump signed an order formally imposing 25% tariffs on imported steel and a 10% rate on aluminum brought into the U.S. that is used by thousands of American manufacturing companies like those belonging to the PMPA. While manufacturers who use aluminum and steel can request product exclusion of the orders, few, if any, customers will wait ninety days for a public review process that may not result in timely relief for these U.S. manufacturers.

“While we are clearly concerned about today’s announcement, our members need to now find ways to minimize the impact of the coming price increases and short supply of critical steel and aluminum needed to supply the defense, automotive, and medical industries, among others,” added Mr. Free. “Our members understand that tariffs are taxes and on their behalf, we will continue our work to educate policymakers about the importance of downstream manufacturing industries and the impact tariffs have on our manufacturers,” he said.

While the majority of steel and aluminum used by PMPA members is made in the U.S., these businesses need a competitively priced and stable raw material supply, particularly as it relates to national security. Any increase in the price of steel and aluminum, or restrictions on the availability of global sources, will cause serious injury to thousands of small, downstream manufacturers.

PMPA supports enforcement of our existing trade laws and points to the 165 antidumping and countervailing duty remedies currently in place on imported steel and believes the current laws are working when enforced appropriately.


The Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) is a national trade association representing over 440 member companies involved in the production of highly engineered, precision machined components used in advanced automotive, aerospace, electrical, construction, and medical technologies PMPA’s members include metal producers, machining and manufacturing companies, machine tool builders, and producers of tooling, software and accessories, and metalworking fluids. The precision machining industry is best described by NAICS code 332721, and accounts for over 99,400 jobs with payrolls of $5.1 billion and shipments of over $18.4 billion. The mission of the PMPA is to provide the information, resources and networking opportunities to advance and sustain its members while advocating for manufacturing throughout the United States.