At the beginning of March in a move that caused a great deal of concern for the global metals trade, Donald Trump announced that he would be imposing steep tariffs on all steel and aluminium being sold to the U.S. Three weeks later and fears have been relieved when a senior U.S. official announced that the European Union, along with six other countries, had been granted a temporary exemption to the tariffs.
With exemptions granted to Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU, more than two thirds of the U.S.’s imports will now be exempt from the import duties until more permanent agreements can be reached.
The U.S. was largest importer of steel in 2017 with net imports reaching 21.7 million metric tons. As a result, the proposed import duties of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium will result in a significant economical impact for any non-exempt countries supplying to the world steel markets.
Along with the audible sigh of relief from the countries exempt from the import taxes, the exemptions are also expected to have a positive effect on the American economy. The European Union and the other six countries exempt from tariffs represent a combined two thirds of all U.S. steel imports. By reducing the amount of countries affected, the potential impact on the American economy is reduced as well as the potential boost to the U.S. steel sector.
While the impact of President Trump’s import duties are yet to be seen and while long-term agreements are yet to be made, this announcement has come as a huge relief to many nations.