SEMA eNews Vol. 22, No. 49, December 5, 2019

U.S. Government Reimposes Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Argentina and Brazil

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

President Trump reimposed 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminum imported into the United States from Argentina and Brazil on December 2. Both countries were previously exempt from the global steel tariffs that began March 23, 2018, and Argentina was exempt from the aluminum tariffs, based on trade quotas. However, President Trump maintains the nations are unfairly devaluing their currencies making U.S. exports to those countries more expensive.  

The tariffs apply to processed raw materials (steel/aluminum plate, sheets, bars, etc.) but not finished products (e.g., wheels, exhausts, etc.). Australia and South Korea have been exempted from the steel tariffs based on trade quotas, and Mexico and Canada were exempted in May 2019 from both metal tariffs as part of the new U.S./Mexico/Canada trade pact. The tariffs have been justified under a national security provision (Section 232) in U.S. trade law. They are currently being challenged in a federal court since application of the tariffs penalize some countries not being accused of dumping or subsidizing the metals.

Questions? Contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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