After Year’s Delay, Trump Takes Action on Steel

After more than a year of delays, the Trump administration is taking action against the tidal wave of imports that is overwhelming the U.S. steel and aluminum industries, destroying high-wage jobs, devastating communities, and damaging our national security.

U.S. Industries Imperiled: U.S. steel jobs have fallen by 35 percent since 2000, and only three surviving companies operate 13 blast furnaces running continuously.

  • In the aluminum industry, 58 percent of U.S. jobs were wiped out between 2013 and 2016, and only five smelters remain.
  • Steel and aluminum are essential for modern industry and infrastructure. Aluminum is indispensable for civilian and military aircraft. As these U.S. industries decline, we are at the mercy of other economic and military powers—particularly, China.

U.S. Didn’t Start “Trade War”: The U.S. steel industry is among the most efficient and least polluting in the world. With investment in infrastructure on the way, domestic demand is increasing—and the industry should be prospering.

  • Instead, China enjoys unfair advantages because its government subsidizes its steel industry, provides underpriced or free raw materials, and “dumps” these products on global markets at artificially low prices.
  • As the Economic Policy Institute explains, the administration’s response—tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum—isn’t unprecedented. These steps can spur international action and protect American producers until comprehensive answers are developed.

Clumsiness…and Cronyism. More than one year of delay has been costly, with imports increasing at least 19 percent over 2016.

  • Trump billionaire supporter and friend, Carl Icahn, dumped $31 million of shares in an steel import-dependent company days before the tariff announcement, making millions for himself and raising questions about “insider trading.”
  • At least 25 percent of the Keystone Pipeline’s pipes are being supplied by a steel company largely owned by a Russian oligarch.