U.S. Government Study Confirms Harm Caused by Section 232 and 301 Tariffs

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The tariff costs imposed on imported steel and aluminum and imported Chinese goods over the past five years have been directly borne by U.S. businesses, according to a study released by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The study results are consistent with SEMA’s comments to the ITC, which noted that significant tariffs had been imposed on member companies with insufficient justification. SEMA recommended that the Section 232 and 301 tariffs be removed.

Last year, the U.S. Congress directed the ITC to assess the economic impact of the tariffs. The agency found that the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum successfully lowered imports and increased domestic metal production, but they also increased prices and had a largely negative impact on downstream production. Prices for both metals were notably higher in the United States than in the rest of the world.

With respect to the Section 301 tariffs on imported Chinese goods, the report found a one-for-one increase. For example, the product price rose about 10% if the tariff was 10%. The report confirms that the higher costs were paid almost entirely by U.S. companies.

With the issuance of the ITC report, SEMA once again urges the Biden Administration to lift the tariffs and provide some economic relief to American businesses and consumers.

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