Why Steel


Section 232 

On March 23, 2018 the United States imposed a 25 percent tariff under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 on imported mill steel including structural shapes, plate and hollow structural shapes (HSS). However, these tariffs don't apply to imported fabricated structural steel. By leaving fabricated structural steel off of the tariff list, the Administration has created a loophole in which foreign fabricators cay buy tariff-free steel, fabricate it, and ship it into the United States without penalty, circumventing U.S. trade policy intended to strengthen the steel industry, not weaken it.

Currently, Canada, Mexico and the European Union are now on the list of countries included in these tariffs. South Korea has been removed from the tariff list by entering into a quota agreement with the United States to limit their imports to 70% of 2017 import levels, and Argentina and Brazil have also agreed to quotas, but those details are unavailable at this point.

Imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada have more than doubled in the last five years, increasing from 125,000 tons in 2012 to 255,000 tons in 2017. Imports of fabricated structural steel from Mexico have increased 11% from 202,000 to 225,000 tons in the same time period.

Now that tariffs have gone into effect on mill steel only for our previous trading allies, we expect to see additional increases to fabricated imports in order to circumvent the existing 232 Order.

Section 301

On May 29, 2018, officials at the White House said, “the United States will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the ‘Made in China 2025’ program." It is important to note that AISC has never supported, nor has it opposed tariffs. However, our position is that if any trade action is to be taken, it must include fabricated structural steel. Since the May announcement, two AISC board members have testified in front of the United States Trade Representative Section 301 Committee, urging them to consider tariffs on fabricated structural steel to close the circumvention loophole left open by 232 tariffs. Currently, fabricated structural steel is officially being considered by the administration, but tariffs on Chinese fabricated steel have not yet gone into effect.
Since 2010, imports of Chinese fabricated structural steel have increased by 290 percent and now represent nearly 40 percent of the world’s fabricated structural steel imported into this country. In fact, of all the fabricated steel imported into the U.S., China’s share has more than doubled in the last decade and will continue to increase unless action is taken. Over the past decade, China has been subject to anti-dumping and other trade remedies on raw steel products. In response and in an effort to evade those U.S. trade actions and grow the market for its steel, China retooled its subsidized manufacturing apparatus to produce more downstream fabricated products, which are not subject to existing trade remedies.