Trump extends deadline on steel, aluminum tariffs

By |  May 1, 2018

Tariffs on steel and aluminum could have an immediate impact on the aggregate industry. (Photo: Foter)

President Donald Trump extended the nation’s May 1 deadline of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by 30 days, moving the deadline to June 1. 

The 30-day extension delays tariffs for the European Union, Mexico and Canada, allowing more time for renegotiation of trade deals that would exempt them permanently from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, marked at 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively. 

The steel and aluminum import tariffs were originally imposed for two key reasons: to protect domestic trade in the United States and to be used as an incentive to reach a tentative NAFTA deal in the Americas.

The Trump administration has urged countries to accept quotas on the amount of steel and aluminum they import into the U.S. in exchange for exemption. The tariffs, however, have caused concern over a possible trade war between the U.S. and other countries, including key allies.

“We remain concerned about the impact of these tariffs on global trade and will continue to work with the EU on a multilateral solution to the global problem of overcapacity, as well as to manage the impact on domestic markets,” the U.K. government said on Tuesday.

The European Union, made up of 28 nations, also spoke out against the U.S. import tariffs, expecting permanent exemption.

“The U.S. decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions,” The European Commission, an institution of the EU responsible for coordinating trade, said in a statement. “The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security.”

Watch: Aggregate industry members share their reactions to President Trump’s proposed 25 percent tariff on steel and what impact it might have on both manufacturers and producers.

Germany, another key U.S. ally which exported more than 950,000 metric tons of steel to the U.S. in 2017 – the most in the European Union – also expressed concerns over the tariffs. Chancellor Angela Merkel visited President Trump in late April in an effort to find resolution, but left without definitive assurances.

“Fundamentally, the German government’s expectation remains a permanent exemption,” says Steffen Seibert, chief spokesman for Chancellor Merkel.

On the flip side, South Korea accepted a quota of 70 percent of its average steel exports to the U.S., and was thus granted with permanent exemption. The White House said it has principle agreements in place with Argentina, Australia and Brazil, but hasn’t finalized details on those quotas.

China, Russia, Japan and India, among others, have been paying the U.S. tariffs since late March and remain subject to the tariffs.

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