November 2, 2020

U.S. Lawmakers Don’t Want Section 232 Tariffs On Electrical Steel Imports

According to the American Journal of Transportation, (AJOT) a group of U.S. lawmakers have written a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking that the Trump administration refrain from imposing Section 232 tariffs on imports of electrical transformers and their components, including grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES).

The Metals Service Center Institute has not taken a position on this matter, and offers this news for its members’ information only.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), Rep. Benjamin Cline (R-Va.), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), and Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) said these penalties would have severe economic consequences on the U.S. transformer industry, which employs 15,000 Americans. The lawmakers also argued that these imports are not a national security threat since they are sourced primarily from North American trading partners.

The letter, which is available here, said, “The prosperity of this country depends on the reliable supply of low-cost electricity to business and consumers throughout the United States. The outcome of this investigation threatens to undermine that supply.”

As the AJOT explained, the lawmakers also provided a list of negative consequences that import restrictions would have, including:

  • Loss of jobs in the U.S. power and distribution transformer industries;
  • Higher utility and electricity bills for American consumers and businesses;
  • Implications for national security because of the weakening of the competitive structure of the American transformer industry;
  • Delays in upgrading the U.S. electrical grid, which requires procurement by U.S. electric utilities of large numbers of transformers over a short period of time; and
  • Deterioration of trade, defense and commercial relationships with Canada and Mexico, which are the source of 85 percent of U.S. imports of transformer cores and laminations, and whose electricity grids are physically, strategically and economically linked with the U.S. power grid.