Trump hammers slabs with Section 232 tariffs

Slabs are not excluded from the 25% tariff on steel imports signed into law by US President Donald Trump on March 8, industry sources said.

Slab converters will therefore seek exclusions for their raw materials, sources said.

California Steel Industries and NLMK USA sought to have slabs excluded from the 232. NLMK USA said its Russian parent company might withhold $600 million in potential investments in its US plants if there is no exemption for semi-finished goods.

CSI has said tariffs on slabs would not protect jobs but merely transfer them from one region of the country to another.

President Donald Trump signed off on blanket tariffs—25% on steel imports, 10% on aluminium imports—at the White House on Thursday, March 8.
Trump said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would be in charge of the exemption process.

While slabs from some countries are not excluded, the tariffs exclude North American Free Trade Agreement members Canada and Mexico, at least temporarily while Nafta renegotiations continue.

The lack of exclusion of slabs is important. That’s because of the 36.9 million tonnes of steel the US imported in 2017, 21.4% of that amount—or 7.9 million tonnes—were accounted by semi-finished products, a category that includes blooms, billets and slabs, according to Commerce Department figures.