Latest News

Tariffs: Quite a Week

Mar 29, 2018

White House Suspends Quotas on a Number of Countries Until May 1, 2018

President Trump (last week) Thursday confirmed the suspension of Section 232 tariffs for a group of countries until May 1, while negotiations about permanent exclusions continue, and said the U.S. would consider the imposition of quotas “as appropriate.”

The President, in March 22 proclamations, confirmed a period of immunity for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, all member countries of the European Union, and South Korea. Each, the documents state, has an “important security relationship” with the U.S.; accordingly, continued discussions are the most “appropriate means” to address the national security threat posed by steel and aluminum imports from those areas.

“The tariffs on steel and aluminum imports ... are suspended until May 1, 2018, pending discussions of satisfactory long-term alternative means to address the threatened impairment to U.S. national security,” the White House states. On May 1, Trump will decide whether to continue the suspension “based on the status of the discussions.”

All other countries will be hit with a steel tariff of 25 percent and a 10 percent aluminum tariff, taking effect March 23, 2018.

Trump also directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, “in consultation with the Secretary and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy,” to advise him on the “appropriate means” -- including the imposition of a quota -- to ensure that any exempt countries do not undermine the national security objectives of the tariffs via transshipment, excess production “or other actions that would lead to increased exports” of steel and aluminum to the U.S.

PMPA has kept members apprised of the ever shifting terms of the tariffs, and with the assistance of The Franklin Partnership in Washington, continues to stay up to date on developments in this area as they continue to evolve.

For now (until May 1, 2018),  Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum bar stock products used by our industry have been exempted from Tariffs under Section 232 if they originate from “Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, all member countries of the European Union, and South Korea.” We are certain that there will be changes in this status  before the May 1, 2018 expiry of these exemptions. PMPA will keep you posted.