Fuel Smarts

White House Imposes Big Hikes On Foreign Steel

March 05, 2002

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Trucking companies who haul domestic steel are likely cheering a decision made Tuesday by the White House.

President Bush announced he will impose tariffs of about 30 percent on steel imports. The move, an effort to prop up the ailing U.S. steel industry, is short of the 40 percent tariffs sought by the steel industry, but the President’s decision is getting their support nevertheless.
Steel imports from Canada and Mexico would reportedly be exempt from the tariffs, along with those from developing countries such as Argentina, Thailand and Turkey.
White House officials said the nations hardest hit by the tariffs include China, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Russia. They said a variety of specialized parts made from steel would be subjected to quotas, tariffs or a mix of both. Steel slab used by some companies and steel flanges favored by automakers would be subjected to modest tariffs. Those companies reportedly lobbied for little or no tariffs to avoid an increase in production costs.
Not surprisingly the news was greeted coldly by foreign steel producers. Some are promising legal action and trade reprisals, especially in light of what some say is an administration that traditionally promotes free trade.
According to published reports the U.S. steel industry has suffered much as of late, with some 30 steelmakers declaring bankruptcy in recent years. That has resulted in less business for trucking companies who rely on hauling domestically produced steel, while it has benefited those hauling steel that comes in from overseas.

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