Over three years later, analysis, assessments and calls for removal or maintenance continue to pour in with respect to the former Trump administration’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.
In 2018, former President Donald Trump used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum of 25% and 10%, respectively, citing national security concerns. The administration sought to boost domestic industry and bring capacity utilization rates up to around 80% (considered a barometer of industry health).
With respect to aluminum, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), in a white paper released this week, argues for the success of the Section 232 aluminum duty.
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EPI: Section 232 aluminum tariff spurred investment, jobs growth
Among its primary conclusions, the EPI white paper argues the 10% duty has led to job growth in the sector and increased production.
“Projects, investments, jobs, and capacity are on the rise since the initiation of the Section 232 aluminum tariffs,” the EPI argued. “At least 57 new and expansion projects are in downstream aluminum industries producing extruded (rod and bar, pipe and tube, and extruded shapes) and rolled (sheet and plate) products. These new and expanded facilities will employ more than 4,500 additional workers, generate $6 billion in new investments, and add more than 1.1 million metric tons of annual rolling and extrusion capacity to the downstream domestic aluminum industry.”
Furthermore, the EPI argued US primary aluminum production increased on the heels of the Section 232 tariff.
US primary aluminum production increased by 37.6% from March 2018-February 2020 compared with the previous two-year period, the EPI said.