Trump’s metal tariffs
On March 8, 2018, US President Trump announced tariffs on US steel and aluminum imports. The tariffs became effective on March 23. The tariffs were imposed after two separate probes by the US Commerce Department showed steel and aluminum imports were a threat to US national security. Trump took action on the report within the 90-day timeline and actually imposed even higher tariffs than what the Commerce Department had proposed.
Last month, the Commerce Department submitted its Section 232 investigation on automotive imports to Trump. Trump has 90 days to act on the report.
Now it’s been almost a year since Trump announced the Section 232 tariffs. The tariffs were welcomed by US steel and iron ore companies including U.S. Steel (X), AK Steel (AKS), Nucor (NUE), and Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF). However, while some aluminum producers (SPY) like Century Aluminum (CENX) wholeheartedly supported the tariffs, Alcoa (AA) said that the Trump administration should instead focus on addressing the core issue of Chinese overcapacity. US automotive companies (F) (GM) (TSLA) actually look wary of any possible tariffs on automotive or automotive component imports.
Now, with the steel and aluminum tariffs almost a year old, it would be prudent to see how the tariffs have impacted different companies. Let’s begin by looking at the tariffs’ impact on the US steel industry in the next article.