An ongoing increase in prices has prompted a major industry group to call on President Biden to end the 25% tariff on steel imports.
In a letter to the President, the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users says that the tariffs on both steel and aluminum originally imposed in early 2018 by President Trump have “hurt small, family-owned manufacturers,” while also “fracturing relations with overseas trading partners.”
According to industry sources, the current price for hot rolled steel is just over $1,228 per short ton, the highest it has been in more than a decade.
At the same time, domestic steel prices have risen around 160% since August.
Compounding the problem is a decline in U.S. production first noticed in the beginning months of the pandemic. By late summer, capacity utilization had fallen to 56%.
While that figure has since increased to 75%, it is still short of the more abundant 82% recorded before the Covid outbreak.
In its letter to Biden asking for an end to both the 25% steel tariff and the 10% aluminum tariff, the Metal Manufacturers and Users group criticized the domestic steel industry for supporting the tariffs, noting: “Any misperceived advantage derived from the tariffs will be useless if their customers go out of business because of high steel prices and lack of supply.”
In moves to offset the costs of both imported steel and aluminum, some contractors have laid off workers and shortened the length of projects. Others have stipulated in their contracts contingencies for material cost increases.
Says the publication Construction Dive: “Contractors will need to stay on their toes so they don’t get caught on the wrong side of a cost crunch.”
By Garry Boulard
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