Dear Valued Customer:
Trump Announces Additional Tariffs on Imports of Steel & Aluminum in 15 Days
President Donald Trump held a press conference this afternoon to announce that he will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that will go into effect in 15 days.
The controversial plan to levy hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum will initially exempt Canada and Mexico and give other trading partners a short window to seek exclusions from the measure.
Trump stated today that the measure would go into effect in 15 days. During that time, he indicated that the U.S. would review other countries for possible exemptions. At this time the details on such possible exemptions are unclear and may not be known until the text of the measure is published in about 15 days.
Trump’s original announcement a week ago called for blanket tariffs on metals, but the White House has been backpedaling in the wake of vigorous opposition to such protectionism from congressional Republicans, U.S. businesses and many economists.
He said Mexico and Canada, both major exporters of steel and aluminum to the U.S., would be able to avoid the tariffs if they reach a deal in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. The expectation is that if NAFTA renegotiations are successful, both countries would be exempted from the higher taxes. However, if unsuccessful, NAFTA will be terminated and the taxes could also apply to Mexico and Canada at that time.
The Trump administration is taking the tariff action after concluding that a rise in imports of the metals poses a threat to U.S. national security – the first time in more than three decades that a U.S. president has justified sweeping trade restrictions on that basis.
Others besides the EU will likely join in contesting the tariffs with the WTO, the international arbiter of trade disputes, but there is practically no legal precedence on such cases. And at any rate, a decision-and-appeal process could take years to work through the WTO process.
We recommend that importers of affected steel and aluminum products promptly clear any shipments arriving in the U.S. within the next 15 days in order to secure the current rates if possible. Importers should also plan for the higher rates to apply to such products arriving into the first U.S. port of discharge on or after the next 15 days.
James J. Boyle & Co. will continue to monitor developments of the Section 232 measure to keep our customers apprised.
Thank you for your attention and cooperation. If you have any questions, please contact your nearest JJB representative.
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