As President Biden heads to Europe for discussion with trade allies, 33 U.S. trade associations representing a wide range of sectors—from manufacturing and agriculture to alcohol and consumer products—released a letter today calling for termination of Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs that have been in place since 2018. The associations’ letter builds on a separate letter from 300-plus U.S. manufacturing companies who last month requested that the Biden administration put an end to these tariffs, which are damaging a wide range of U.S. businesses.
Since their inception, the 232 steel tariffs have caused a steadily increasing array of supply disruptions and price fluctuations for some of the most critical inputs used by U.S. manufacturers, effectively handing a competitive advantage to overseas producers of steel-based products able to source their inputs at standard global market prices. The current stress on the U.S. manufacturing sector threatens to be further exacerbated as the post-pandemic economic recovery increases demand for manufactured products—a situation that would ordinarily be cause for celebration by U.S. companies and their employees.
In addition, retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports put in place by traditional trade allies in response to these tariffs have hurt a wide range U.S. exports.
“These tariffs continue to hurt small, family-owned businesses and the communities in which they built their companies, while fracturing relations with overseas trading partners and spurring a frenzy of retaliatory trade measures against both related and unrelated industries,” the 33 trade associations write.
“The restriction on the supply of goods and raw materials resulting from the tariffs has sent a ripple throughout downstream industries, disrupting supply chains and threatening the economic security of American workers. Our members rely on the movement of their goods and inputs without [[constant]] government intervention that causes delivery delays and arbitrary price spikes,” the letter continues.
“Our businesses sustain communities and create jobs across the country that far outweigh any perceived benefit of the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on two industries. To grow U.S. jobs, we urge you to lift the steel and aluminum tariffs, negotiate the removal of retaliatory tariffs on American exports, and support innovative policies to make our businesses more globally competitive.”
The association letter was organized by the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users, the National Foreign Trade Council, and other groups representing steel and aluminum-using U.S. companies.