Industry Testifies to Include Fabricated Structural Steel in Section 301 Tariffs

photo: 150 N. Riverside, Zalk Josephs

In the months since the Trump administration announced a 25% tariff on raw steel imports as a matter of national security, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) has been actively working to have fabricated steel from China and other non-exempt countries included in the products covered by the tariff to protect U.S. fabricators and businesses in the design and construction industries. On Tuesday, Jeffrey Sterner, president and chief operating officer of High Industries, Lancaster, Pa. (an AISC member and certified fabricator and erector), and a member of the AISC board of directors, testified on behalf of AISC in front of the United States Trade Representative Section 301 committee, requesting that the administration add the principal Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes for fabricated structural steel, 730810 and 730890, to the Section 301 tariff list.

In his testimony, Sterner said, "Steel assemblies that fall under these two codes represented $831 million of imports in 2017, or nearly 2% of the Section 301 target value. Adding these codes is critically important because the U.S. structural steel supply chain currently suffers from the effects of unfair Chinese industrial policies related to steel production and fabrication."

The current Section 301 schedule already includes 132 HTS codes related to steel, many of which represent products used in the construction industry. However, it does not close the circumvention loophole left open by the Section 232 order which does not currently include the codes for fabricated steel assemblies.

“Adding fabricated steel assemblies under HTS codes 730810 and 730890 would be a logical extension of other tariffs already in the proposed Section 301 schedule in addition to those in the Section 232 Order,” says Brian Raff, AISC’s director of government affairs. “It will add real teeth to the effort to curb China’s policies and practices that adversely impact domestic steel fabrication and production.”

View Sterner’s testimony here.