Like previous US presidents, Trump plans to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminium in an attempt to protect American jobs and domestic steel producers. But he is unlikely to succeed.
Imports of steel in the United States are four times that of exports, and imports are still rising. According to the International Trade Organization, although American steel imports come from more than 100 countries, 3/4 of steel imports come mainly from 8 countries and regions.
In 2017, Canada was the main importer of American steel, accounting for 16% of the total import of American steel. Next were Brazil (13%), South Korea (10%), Mexico (9%) and Russia (9%). Other major sources of steel imports include Turkey (7%), Japan (5%), Taiwan (4%) and Germany (3%).
The following picture shows the top 10 steel importing countries and regions in the United States:
China is not among the top 10 steel import sources in the United States, ranking 11th.
Trump said Thursday (March 1) that he would announce new tariffs next week. Previous U.S. presidents have taken such measures, dating back to President Nixon in the 1970s. Trump said in his 2016 presidential campaign that he opposed “unfair trade” and promised to take tough measures against U.S. trading partners.
The White House says tariffs are needed to protect American businesses and workers from cheap steel abroad. The Commerce Department report cites the closure of several U.S. steel mills in the past few years and points out that thousands of jobs have been lost as a result.
“We will continue to protect American workers,” White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said on March 1. Despite frequent White House intervention, job losses in the U.S. steel industry have continued for a long time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. steel industry currently employs nearly 140,000 workers directly. More than half a century ago, the industry employed 650,000 people.
Since World War II, the steel industry has undergone tremendous changes. One of the changes is that technological advances have boosted productivity by a large margin, enabling steelmakers to do more with fewer workers.
Intense competition from abroad and more imports have also played a role in reducing the number of jobs in the U.S. steel sector. However, the tariffs imposed by Trump’s predecessors, including President Bush, Clinton and President Reagan, had little effect on curbing the import wave.
In some cases, tariff increases encourage other U.S. manufacturers to seek cheaper alternatives to avoid rising steel costs. Many American manufacturers are cautious about tariffs.
U.S. trade rivals may also impose retaliatory tariffs, which will increase the risk of trade wars and may ultimately damage all countries involved.
Post time: Jul-01-2019