Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Update

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The tariff war with China is escalating. President Trump directed the U.S. government to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports beginning July 6. The tariffs are an attempt to lower the U.S./China trade deficit and to deter cybertheft of intellectual property by Chinese government and companies. China has retaliated, imposing an equal amount of tariffs on farm goods, aircraft and other products. In response, President Trump directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to identify another $200 billion worth of Chinese products to be subject to 10% tariffs on goods ranging from fish to luggage beginning as early as September. To follow is a summary: 

  • On July 6, Customs began collecting duties on about $34 billion worth of 818 product categories with Harmonized Tariff Code listings. The subject product list includes miscellaneous metal and rubber parts for auto equipment, machinery, tools, measurement and medical devices.
  • The USTR has not yet finalized the second list covering the other $16 billion worth of products. The list covers 284 tariff categories.
  • President Trump has directed the USTR to identify more products worth $200 billion subject to 10% tariffs. The initial list covers hundreds of consumer products, from fish to furniture and apparel. It includes many auto parts, from engines and metal fasteners to tires, steering wheel components, rubber gaskets, transmission belts, brake pads, windshields and suspension springs.  

SEMA opposes the global steel/aluminum tariffs—which have already been imposed—the threatened global tariffs on imported automobiles and auto parts and the Chinese tariffs as misplaced and having the potential to impose significant harm on U.S. businesses and consumers. While it is important to identify and challenge unfair trade practices, tariffs are a heavy-handed form of taxation that lead to unintended trade retaliation and loss of American jobs. 

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.