The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU) released a letter today sent to President Joe Biden requesting the immediate termination of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports enacted under the Trump administration. Imposed almost three years ago, the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs have damaged US consuming industries that employ more than 6.8 million workers, compared to 140,000 in the US steel industry. They also feed current steel supply shortages and high prices at a time when US manufacturers face significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its letter, CAMMU urged the President to consider how, “the Trump steel tariffs have hurt small, family-owned manufacturers” while also, “fracturing relations with overseas trading partners.” The letter also emphasized that, combined with the US Commerce Department’s broken exclusion process, the tariffs interfere with US manufacturers’ ability to compete globally: “The exclusion process alone cannot address the shortages and price spikes that are hurting steel and aluminum-using manufacturers.”
CAMMU noted the damage the Section 232 tariffs have caused to the US manufacturing sector regardless of where they source their steel and aluminum: “President Trump’s steel tariffs simply allowed domestic producers to raise prices on their products by effectively placing an added tax on competing imports. As a result, even manufacturers who only buy steel from domestic producers are unable to obtain the steel they need because of the domestic industry’s capacity, or cannot purchase steel at a competitive price, placing them at a growing disadvantage with overseas competitors who pay lower global market prices for these materials.”
“By jeopardizing the ability of businesses to access the steel and aluminum they need, the Trump tariffs have made it more difficult for American manufacturers to compete with finished products imported from overseas. Once this business moves offshore, it can take years for it to return—if at all,” wrote CAMMU.
The letter concludes, “It’s time for the U.S. to leave counterproductive trade policies in the past. We ask that you move at once to terminate the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs and focus instead on re-engaging with our trading partners on a coordinated response to address the root cause of global oversupply in steel and aluminum: excess capacity in China.”
CAMMU members include: Associated Builders and Contractors, Hands‐On Science Partnership, Industrial Fasteners Institute, National Tooling & Machining Association, North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, Precision Machined Products Association and Precision Metalforming Association.
Read the full text of the letter here.