Trump’s latest steel tariffs to hit Mexico, Canada and EU

US builders will pay millions more to import metals under the plan

May.May 31, 2018 11:02 AM
Donald Trump and a steel factory (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Pexels)

President Donald Trump isn’t softening his stance on tariffs for steel and aluminum imports.

The Trump administration announced it would no longer exempt Mexico, Canada, and the European Union from tariffs on the imported metals, despite strong protests from the leaders of its closest trading partners. The exemptions were set to expire one minute past midnight on Friday morning, according to Bloomberg.

Trump previously exempted the North American and European countries from the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, when his administration first put them into effect in March.

Thursday’s decision was quickly met with promises of retaliation.

The EU said it would target $3.3 billion in American products, including iconic brands like Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi Strauss & Co jeans, and bourbon whiskey, Bloomberg reported.

Canada hasn’t yet laid out its response, but the United States imports more steel from Canada than any other country in the world — 5.8 million metric tons last year alone. That’s a million metric tons more than the United States’ second-leading exporter, Brazil.

The decision could weigh heavily on the real estate industry, which is already laboring under increased construction costs. Steel prices have risen this year in anticipation of the tariffs. Builders buy for projects a year or more down the road, so sellers taken into account future price fluctuations.

Trump imposed the tariffs in the name of national security, citing a 1960s-era law that allows the Commander in Chief to do so, according to Bloomberg. The Trump Administration argued the tariffs would give a boost to the domestic steel and aluminum industries, which have declined over the last few decades because of competition abroad.

Businesses in four states, including real estate developers, are expected to bear the brunt of the tariffs, which are estimated to yield around $9 billion this year. Texas companies would pay the government about $968 million, New York firms around $759 million, and firms in California and Florida about $525 million in each state. [Bloomberg] – Dennis Lynch 

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