PA Lawmakers: Section 232 Tariffs Key to Strong Steel Industry

Public News Service |Emily Scott    March 24, 2022

PA Lawmakers: Section 232 Tariffs Key to Strong Steel Industry

The United States and Britain have struck a deal to remove U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum along with U.K. tariffs on U.S. bluejeans, whiskey and motorcycles.

Some Pennsylvania lawmakers said the steel tariffs have been key to leveling the global playing field. In 2018, Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act was used to impose 25% and 10% tariffs, respectively, on some steel and aluminum imports to stabilize domestic production.

Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, co-chair of the House Steel Caucus, said we should be cautious as the U.S. eases these tariffs on some countries.

“If we relax the Section 232 majors, foreign steel production in other countries that have little or no environmental regulations will stand to capture more market share,” Burns explained. “And put our workers in jeopardy because they’ll continue to dump cheap foreign steel into the United States.”

Pennsylvania’s steel industry employs more than 34,000 people, who earn $3.14 billion in wages and salaries annually.

Rep. Natalie Mihalek, R-Allegheny, the other co-chair of the House Steel Caucus, said one concern is some countries do not follow the same strict regulations American steelworkers and companies do.

“China’s government heavily subsidizes its companies, most of which are in fact state-owned or controlled, meaning that they can price their goods far below market value,” Mihalek asserted. “Companies here in the United States and in Pennsylvania, our workers face tougher labor and environmental laws than the competitors abroad.”

China is the number one producer of steel globally, according to the World Steel Association, although its production outstrips domestic demand. Last month, the U.S. announced it was relaxing the Section 232 tariffs on Japan and the European Union.