U.S. steel imports surge in anticipation of tariff

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Source: American Shipper

 Steel imports to the United States surged 12.1 percent in April to 3.76 million net tons, according to the latest figures from the American Institute for International Steel.
   Of that total, U.S. companies purchased 705,000 net tons of steel from Canada, 478,000 net tons from the European Union, 475,000 net tons from South Korea and 467,000 net tons from Russia.
   Through the first four months of 2018, steel imports grew 1.2 percent year-over-year to 12.45 million net tons.
   AIIS attributed the April surge in import volumes primarily to the announcement of a 25 percent tariff on imports of steel the previous month.
   President Donald Trump announced the tariff in March following a Commerce Department investigation that found global imports of steel pose a threat to national security, which translated into businesses in April “stocking up as much as they could” prior to the imposition of the additional duty.
   The Trump administration had granted temporary exemptions for close trading partners like the EU, Canada and Mexico, but with those exemptions having been dropped as of June 1, AIIS projected steel volumes in May will “probably be similar” to the April figures, “followed by a sharp drop-off” in June.
   “After that will likely come a scaling back of capital expenditures, price increases for consumers and a slowdown of what had the potential to be the strongest economic growth in 20 years,” the association warned.
   By comparison, U.S. steel exports ticked up 0.5 percent year-over-year to 861,005 net tons in April, but AIIS warned a potential trade war with Canada and Mexico, the United States’ partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement and the two largest buyers of American steel, could significantly dampen volumes as the year goes on.

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