This letter was today sent to President Trump in order to provide an overview of the important issues at stake for the steel supply chain and the country as he prepares to make a decision with respect to potential trade measures he might impose on imported steel pursuant to the Department of Commerce’s recent Section 232 report.
February 8, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Trump,
I am writing on behalf of the 120 corporate members of the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) and the 1.3 million people whose livelihoods depend on steel imports to urge you not to impose job-killing restrictions on the steel trade.
AIIS is a trade association that represents companies throughout the steel supply chain, covering thousands of stevedores that handle steel imports and exports, as well as tens of thousands of jobs in the rail, barge, steamship, and trucking sectors, plus Customs brokers, insurance carriers, and steel distributors and fabricators.
During the past year, you and your administration have led the United States into an era of robust economic expansion, low unemployment, and a booming stock market. Taking a smarter approach to regulations, reforming the tax code, and implementing other pro-growth policies has restored this nation to its rightful place as the world’s economic powerhouse. We urge you not to allow the Commerce Department’s recently completed report on the Section 232 investigation of the impact of steel imports on national security to put these achievements at risk.
Imported steel does, indeed, have an effect on the national security of the United States – a positive one. The global steel market means that defense and weapons systems, as well as national critical infrastructure, can be procured and built at more competitive prices, making it possible for the United States to provide its troops with more armored vehicles, guns, and
protective plates. And no international crisis would threaten the supply of steel to this sector. Domestic manufacturers have 75 percent of total market share, and defense and homeland security accounts for only about 3 percent of the nation’s consumption of steel produced stateside. Plus, the vast majority of imported steel comes from friendly countries such as Canada, Brazil, and the members of the European Union.
Taking a broader view of national security to include economic well- being makes the point even more clearly. A 2017 study from Martin Associates found that steel port activity supports 1.3 million jobs and $240 billion of economic activity. Imposing new tariffs or quotas on steel imports would have an immediate negative impact on many Americans whose paychecks depend on the steel trade. It would almost certainly invite retaliation by other countries. As history shows, tit-for-tat trade retaliation never ends well. There are no winners. Such an outcome would pose a major threat to global stability and security.
AIIS applauds the highly effective economic policies that you have put in place. We ask that you continue on this course by resisting calls to implement protectionist measures that would benefit a few companies at the expense of the nation’s security and economic health.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss it further with members of your staff.
American Institute for International Steel
CC: Secretary Wilbur Ross