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Trump Credits His Tariffs for Reviving the US Steel Industry


Jan. 28 2019, Published 12:22 p.m. ET

US steel industry

On January 28, in a tweet, President Donald Trump said that the steel tariffs he imposed “have totally revived our Steel Industry.”

He added that “new and expanded plants are happening all over the U.S. We have not only saved this important industry, but created many jobs.” The president called it “A BIG WIN FOR U.S.”

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Section 232 tariffs

The US steel industry has seen a flurry of new investments since the president imposed the Section 232 tariffs in March. Nucor (NUE) and Steel Dynamics have announced new plants, while U.S. Steel Corporation (X) has restarted two blast furnaces at its Granite City facility. However, while President Trump sees the revival in the US steel industry (CLF) as his doing, investors don’t seem to agree, and US steel stocks fell sharply last year despite the tariff support.

Downstream users

While Trump has said that the US Treasury has earned billions, the money has come from US buyers only and not from foreign steel companies. Downstream steel and aluminum users (SPY), including Ford Motor Company (F) and General Motors (GM), have said that the tariffs are hurting their profitabilities.

Along with the Section 232 tariffs, last year, the Trump administration also imposed sanctions on RUSAL, the world’s leading aluminum producer (AA). However, yesterday, the US Department of the Treasury withdrew the sanctions on RUSAL. Read Trump Administration Withdraws Sanctions on Russian Companies to explore more.

Read Are Trump’s Tariffs Having the Desired Effect? for a look at what to expect from the tariffs this year.


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