CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, [email protected]
Today the United Steelworkers union (USW) expressed its profound disappointment in the Trump Administration’s decision to remove Canada’s exemption from Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum products.
This decision is unacceptable and calls into serious question the design and direction of the Administration’s trade policy. Section 232 relief is founded on national security interests and U.S. law. Our history shows that there is no stronger ally and partner on national security than Canada.
The decision not to exempt Canada ignores the fact that Canada’s steel and aluminum exports to the United States are fairly traded and that Canada has shown its willingness to strengthen its laws as well as its cooperation with the United States to fight unfair trade.
From the early days of the Administration, the USW has worked with trade officials to develop, design and deploy trade policies that will strengthen our manufacturing base, increase employment and enhance our national security.
But, in recent days, it has become increasingly difficult to understand the reasoning behind certain decisions and policies. The regular chaos surrounding our flawed trade policies is undermining the ability to project a reasoned course and ensure that we can improve domestic production and employment.
Today’s decision is wrongheaded and erodes the certainty companies need to conduct operations and invest in the future.
Early results showed the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs were having the intended impact: Thousands of jobs were created or saved as relief was put in place. Trading partners were finally beginning to take action against the root cause of all of these problems, China.
The goal must continue to be strengthening our national security by eliminating unfair competition and global overcapacity. But, that’s at risk now.
In the coming days, we hope the Administration will reassess its decision so we can resume a path toward correcting the trade violations of the past.
So far, the Administration’s trade policies have led to confusion, higher trade deficits and no real success in changing the practices of our trading partners. Ultimately, the goal is not a tariff barrier, but a stronger America. It’s time to ensure that we’re on the right path.
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.