PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For years American steelmakers and steelworkers have called for a stop to illegally subsidized and dumped foreign steel in the U.S. market.
Now President Trump says he’s heard the call.
“You will have protection for the first time in a long while,” the President told a gathering of steelmakers at the White House on Thursday. “You got to regrow your industries. That’s all I’m asking. You have to regrow your industries.”
The plan calls for an indefinite tariff of 25 percent on foreign steel sold in this country and 10 percent on foreign aluminum.
“You’re going to see a lot of good things happen. You’re going to see expansions of the companies,” said the President.
The plan will be finalized next week, and some countries may be exempted.
The president’s announcement was hailed by U.S. Steel President & CEO David Burritt, who attended the meeting.
“We are not protectionists. We want a level playing field. it’s for our employees to support our customers, and when we get this right, it will be great for the United States of America. We have to get this done,” said Burritt.
In a statement, the United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard hailed the President’s action, saying, “The objective should also be to reduce the negative impact of steel and aluminum imports that have decimated production in the United States. The tariff levels the president announced will help to achieve that objective.”
The President campaigned against foreign products coming into U.S. markets from countries that limited American products in their lands.
But he also said some industries like steel and aluminum were essential for our own national security.
“We need it for defense. We need great steelmakers, great aluminum makers,” he said.
Local steel folks hope this action will strengthen American steel-making and jobs.
But others are worried that it could raise prices of goods made with aluminum and steel.
And then still others fear foreign countries may retaliate with tariffs of their own.
That may prove counter-productive for those countries, since we are still a valuable market place, importing $566 billion of foreign goods ‘more’ than we export.