Trump weighs tariffs on US steel imports

President Donald Trump is weighing quotas on steel and aluminium imports to protect US producers.US President Donald Trump says he is considering a range of options, including tariffs and quotas, to address steel and aluminium imports that he says are unfairly hurting US producers.

Trump’s comments came on Tuesday in a meeting with a bipartisan group of US senators and representatives. Some of the lawmakers urged him to act decisively to save steel and aluminium producers in their states, but others urged caution because higher prices would hurt manufacturers.

Trump is weighing a list of options presented a month ago by the US Commerce Department in a “Section 232” trade case looking at whether restrictions on steel and aluminium are needed to protect national security.

“What we’re talking about it tariffs and/or quotas,” Trump said to the group.

“Part of the options would be tariffs coming in. As they dump steel, they pay tariffs, substantial tariffs, which means the United States would actually make a lot of money.”

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

The Commerce Department has not revealed its recommendations.

But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the lawmakers that Section 232 powers “can be applied in a much more surgical way” that could lead to tariffs on imports from certain countries and quotas from other nations suspected of trans-shipping products.

Steelmakers recently urged Trump to take broad action to reduce steel imports to curb global excess steel production capacity, largely in China..

Steel and aluminium users, meanwhile, have urged caution in any restrictions to avoid disruptions or price spikes in the raw materials used in everything from cars to appliances and aircraft and construction.