USA mulls introducing protectionist measures against aluminum and steel suppliers

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Several senators urged caution, however, including Senator Roy Blunt, who said, "we do need to be careful here that we don't start a reciprocal battle on tariffs" because the United States not only makes aluminum and steel but also must buy and import these products to satisfy domestic demand.

The country-specific aluminum tariff option would impose a 23.6 percent tariff on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Finally, quotas could be implemented at 63% of 2017 steel exports and 87% of aluminum exports, effectively giving USA manufacturers a bigger piece of the domestic market.

A tariff of at least 53% on 12 countries' imports, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Trump has until around April 11 to decide whether to impose steel import curbs and April 20 to decide on aluminium restrictions.

"What we're talking about is tariffs and or quotas", Trump told the group.

Ross was asked whether the 232 remedies could pose a risk to downstream workers, such as those in the automotive industry, if those plants moved out of the United States in reaction to the possible restrictions on aluminum and steel. U.S. Steel up 2 percent, and AK Steel up 1.1 percent. The investigation sought to determine whether the imports posed a threat to the country's national security.

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The announcement from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did not indicate whether Trump will choose the global tariffs or more targeted options in an effort to provide import relief for the two industries. Although Trump campaigned on a protectionist platform, he has taken only modest action so far to restrict imports.

According to the Aluminum Association, there are five US smelting facilities that are operating with three partial curtailments.

Ross criticized China, the world's largest producer of steel, for overproduction. "Our comments included non-exhaustive lists of steel and aluminum products that must be excluded from any import adjustments to keep our industry running smoothly".

Ross said excessive steel and aluminum imports "threaten to impair the national security", in a 262-page investigative report released Friday. And only one company in the country produces the high-quality aluminum alloy used for military aerospace purposes.

From 2013 to 2016 aluminum industry employment fell by 58%, 6 smelters shut down, and only two of the remaining 5 smelters are operating at capacity, even though demand has grown considerably.

A quota on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the United States.