Trump given options for steep U.S. import curbs on steel, aluminum

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The Commerce Department on Friday recommended setting strict new limits on imported steel and aluminum, saying action is needed to shore up USA industries vital to national security.

Alternatively, the agency said it recommended a steel tariff of at least 53 percent on all steel imports from 12 countries - Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

For aluminum, Ross recommended a tariff of 7.7% on imports from all countries, or a tariff of 23.6% on imports from five specific aluminum exporters, again including China and Russian Federation.

"The Commerce Department's recommendations today we hope are the beginning of efforts by this administration to finally get tough on China and help level the playing field for American steel and aluminum producers and workers", Schumer said in a statement.

We call on President Trump to act swiftly and boldly to save the American aluminum industry.

The goal of these tariffs would be to increase domestic production of steel and grow the USA steel workforce.

Steel and aluminum are vital to the nation's security and to our crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure. President Donald Trump earlier this week said he was considering the tariffs, and the administration last month imposed tariffs on solar panels and modules.

The recommendations released Friday also include aluminum. Trump take action based on the recommendations he receives, or he may opt not to take any action.

During Trump's first year in office, the US trade deficit grew by 12 percent.

"On an average month, China produces almost as much steel as the USA does in a year". The country's imports are almost four times the amount of exports, according to the report. "If we ever have a conflict, we don't want to be buying the steel from a country that we're fighting because somehow that doesn't work very well". China is by far the largest producer and exporter of steel, and the largest source of excess steel capacity. No matter what he decides to impose, tariffs will be an incremental boost to companies like U.S. Steel, which has struggled with billions in losses over the past decade. For example, there is only one remaining US producer of the high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aerospace.

The Aluminum Association Friday separately said while Commerce said job loss in the primary aluminum sector was 58% between 2013 and 2016, the total industry saw a slight increase in jobs during that period.

A quota on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the United States.