Law & Order

President Trump Announces Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

In February, the U.S. Department of Commerce recommended that President Trump impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, reasoning that a dependence on foreign sources for these critical materials poses a threat to national security. As a result, President Trump announced that the United States would impose a 25% tariff on all covered steel imports and a 10% tariff on all covered aluminum imports. The tariffs will be imposed March 23, 2018.

  • Covered Steel Imports: The tariffs cover “steel articles” classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) six-digit level as: 7206.10 through 7216.50; 7216.99 through 7301.10; 7302.10; 7302.40 through 7302.90; and 7304.10 through 7306.90. These sections are in Chapters 72 and 73 of the HTS.
  • Covered Aluminum Imports: The tariffs cover “aluminum articles” classified in the HTS as: (a) unwrought aluminum (7601); (b) aluminum bars, rods and profiles (7604); (c) aluminum wire (7605); (d) aluminum plate, sheet, strip and foil (flat rolled products) (7606 and 7607); (e) aluminum tubes and pipes and tube and pipe fitting (7608 and 7609); and (f) aluminum castings and forgings (7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70). These sections are in Chapter 76 of the HTS.
  • Exclusions: Imports from Canada and Mexico are temporarily exempted, but tied to a successful renegotiation of the NAFTA accord. Other countries with which the United States has a security relationship may seek to negotiate removal of the tariffs. A process will also be developed to seek a product exclusion based on significant merit (lack of availability or national security reasons).

Once imposed, the tariffs will likely be challenged by other countries in the World Trade Organization and potentially lead to retaliation moves by U.S. trading partners.

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at