Trump orders China steel investigation

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 23, 2017

Trump called the signing an "historic day for American steel", according to the press pool report, saying his administration would "fight for American workers and American-made steel, and that's beginning immediately".

Separately, SAIC Motor Corp Ltd (上海汽車), China's biggest automaker by sales, has halted a plan to export its own branded vehicles to the US until it gets more clarity on Sino-US trade policy under Trump. Trump won many votes in industrial Midwestern states like MI and Pennsylvania with a pledge to boost manufacturing and crack down on Chinese trade practices.

The president made bold and often inflammatory promises about trade policy on the campaign trail, pledging to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and impose tariffs of 45 percent on imports from China and 35 percent on US companies that moved manufacturing facilities to Mexico.

Thomas Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said that global steel overcapacity has led to the loss of almost 14,000 jobs.

"Dumping is a tremendous problem in this country", Trump said.

Steel shares had surged after the November 8 US election on optimism over increased infrastructure spending under Trump, but the steel index had been drifting lower since February.

The announcement is the most concrete move the administration has made on trade since Trump was elected after a campaign when he argued cheap imports were "killing" USA manufacturers.

Nucor Chairman John Ferriola welcomed the president's move, saying in a statement: "We look forward to continuing to work with the president and Secretary Ross to ensure our trade laws are enforced so that USA manufacturers can compete on a level-playing field".

Trump was expected to meet with leaders of United States steel companies and to sign the memorandum related to section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 at a White House event this afternoon.

The New Zealand government recently launched an investigation into Chinese steel after evidence from industry sources suggested China was subsidising galvanised steel coil. The Defense Department's annual steel requirements make up less than 0.3 percent of the national industry's output by weight.

Shares in United States Steel, Steel Dynamics, AK Steel Holding and Cliffs Natural Resources were among the corporations that rose strongly following the administration announcement.

"From now on, we're going to stand up for Americans jobs, workers, their security and for American steel companies and companies in general", Trump said.

US prominence in the steel industry has been slipping for decades.

Nucor Chairman John Ferriola said in a statement that the steelmaker welcomed the president's move.

"It's a very serious impact on the domestic industry", Mr Ross said at a White House briefing with reporters.

The chairman of the club, Vikrom Wacharkrup, said the USA measure was expected to force Chinese steelmakers to turn to Asean markets, including Thailand, where demand for steel is rising.

Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown - expressed support for the move and hope that it might eventually help revitalize the steel industry in Ohio. Trump also signed a buy American/hire American executive order this week. "Additionally, the steel we produce for the energy and infrastructure markets is critical to our economic and national security".

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