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July 13, 2020

Trump Administration Reportedly Considering Section 232 Tariffs For Canadian Steel

As Connecting the Dots has reported over the last two weeks, there has been increasing speculation that U.S. President Donald Trump will put back into place his Section 232 tariffs on aluminum from Canada.

Now, according to Fastmarkets AMM (subscription required), “Talk of renewed tariffs on steel appears to have ramped up over the past week.” Indeed, “Fastmarkets has heard that renewed Section 232 tariffs or other trade actions might target particular steel products in both Canada and Mexico, and also potentially certain material from Brazil, South Korea and Australia.”

An unnamed official from the U.S. Department of Commerce would not confirm or deny the report, telling Fastmarkets, “We cannot comment on potential internal deliberations.”

As a reminder, the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) has argued from the beginning of the Trump administration’s Section 232 deliberations that products from Canada and Mexico should be exempt from these national security-related penalties.

MSCI President and CEO Bob Weidner reiterated that position in a letter sent two weeks ago to President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Instead of imposing penalties on one another’s products, Weidner advised that “the United States and Canada should engage with trading partners directly to reduce global excess capacity, both bilaterally and multilaterally. It should be a stated principal objective of your trade policy to target excess capacity in countries that raise capacity through market distorting policies.” Click here to read the full letter.