Trump given options for steep US import curbs on steel, aluminum

The Trump administration is considering imposing steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum

The U.S. Department of Commerce has concluded that steel imports have an adverse effect on national security and harm American steel producers, such as Nucor in Auburn. Employment in the steel industry has declined by 35 percent since 1998. "We can not be without an aluminum industry". Any exclusions granted could result in changed tariffs or quotas for the remaining products to maintain the overall effect. And, finally, a fourth option is for Trump to simply ignore Friday's recommendations, or do something else entirely.

Some U.S. lawmakers and steel and aluminum users have urged caution in any restrictions to avoid disruptions or price spikes in the raw materials, used in everything from autos to appliances and aircraft and construction. They worry that slapping tariffs or quotas on imports could spark a trade war.

"We're not going to allow that.We're talking to them right now, very strongly". Pat Toomey, R-Pa. "Invoking national security when I think it's really hard to make that case invites retaliation that could be problematic for us".

Companies can also seek appeals based on US production of steel and aluminum and specific national security-based considerations.

The aluminum recommendations include a 7.7% tariff on imports from all exporter nations.

The recommendations released Friday also include aluminum.

Trump is required to make a decision on steel by April 11 and on aluminum by April 19.

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The proposed restrictions come weeks after the administration imposed import duties on solar panels and washing machines. The president could also consider the countries' willingness to work with the United States to address global excess capacity and other challenges facing the USA aluminum and steel industries.

The department said Ross will not announce Trump's decision on how to deal with the surge in steel and aluminium imports, which United States producers have said are unfairly hurting them.

In late January, the European Union gave Trump a fresh warning about any US curbs on imports from Europe by pledging rapid retaliation, highlighting the persistent risk of a trans-Atlantic trade war.

Century Aluminum shares closed up 8.3 percent, while Alcoa, which has operations across the globe, ended off 0.44 percent.

"Each of these remedies is meant to increase domestic steel production from its present 73 percent of capacity to approximately an 80 percent operating rate, the minimum rate needed for the long-term viability of the industry, " the statement said. US steel plants now operate at about 73 percent of capacity, while aluminum plants operate at just 48 percent capacity. All others would be subject to quotas equal to their 2017 exports to the United States.

A 63% quota of those countries' 2017 steel imports is recommended in the report. The president would then decide on what course of action to take. It's also about roads, and bridges and the economic well-being of American workers.

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