Business and construction groups are criticizing the imposition of raised tariffs on both steel and aluminum imports coming to the U.S from Europe, Canada, and Mexico.
As announced by the White House, U.S.-imposed tariffs on steel from Europe, Canada, and Mexico will now stand at 25%, with the tariff on aluminum set for 10 percent.
In a statement, Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned about the dangers of the U.S. engaging in a “tit-for-tat trade war” that will “harm the U.S. economy and undermine American leadership.”
Just hours before the Trump Administration announced its decision to proceed with the new tariffs, Brilliant said that the raised rates would “hit American manufactures with higher costs, slow the growth of the U.S. construction sector, and put the brakes on job creation in both of these key sectors.”
In an interview with the Engineering News Record, Brian Turmail, executive director of public affairs for the Associated General Contractors of America, was equally critical of the policy, noting in particular that Canada and Mexico combined currently supply some 26 percent of all steel imports to the U.S.
But the American Iron and Steel Institute said Trump’s policy is a good one, arguing that the raised tariffs will “ensure a strong American steel sector that is fundamental to our national economic security.’
Thomas Gibson, chief executive officer of the Institute, said the increased tariffs were in line with an earlier goal announced by the Trump administration to help the U.S. steel industry “achieve 80 percent or more of capacity utilization over the longterm.”
What happens next is challenging the thinking of business analysts in all the affected countries.
For the present, according to those analysts, construction projects already underway across the U.S. are not expected to be impacted by the new tariffs.
But projects that are in the talking stage may be delayed as developers weigh the increased costs of materials and availability of supply.
By Garry Boulard