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.
- 301 testimony
- Tariffs and Trade Issues: Will They Impact How You Design - webinar + quiz
- AISC Advocacy—State of Infrastructure and Tariffs - webinar
- Tariff Impacts on Structural Steel Markets - March 5, 2018
- Letter to President Trump - March 2, 2018