U.S. Steel Tariffs

4 April 2015
An opinion essay defending U.S. Steel tariffs recently imposed by the Bush administration on imported steel.

This paper explains the U.S. Steel tariffs and when and why they were put in place. It presents an argument defending the tariffs, and discusses how these tariffs impact international business and world wide relations for the United States.
“On March 5, 2002, the Bush administration imposed a 30 percent tariff on steel imports over the next three years. The tariffs exclude members of the North American Free Trade Agreement, including Canada and Mexico. Imports from developing nations that account for less than 3 percent of the total for individual steel product lines are also excluded. Duties ranging from 8 percent to 30 percent took effect on March 20, 2002. The tariffs cover flat-rolled steel and other steel product imports from countries including Brazil, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Germany, Turkey, France, China, Australia, and the Netherlands and will remain in place for three years (Bush 2002).
President Bush faced few alternatives to save the nation’s beleaguered steel industry. United States trade representative, Robert Zoellick, expressed that the American steel industry was basically up against the wall and that Bush’s actions would restore the strength and profitability of the industry. Approximately thirty-one steel companies have filed for bankruptcy since 1998, the year of the Asian financial crisis that prompted a flood of cheap steel into the United States, causing steel prices to tumble to 20 year lows. The Bush administration defended import restrictions as an effort to eliminate some of the 200 million tons of global excess steel-making capacity (Bush 2002). Originally demanding 40 percent tariffs over four years, the U.S. steel makers seem content with the imposed 30 percent over three years. The Bush administration faced strong political pressure to protect the industry from the crushing effects of imports from the political battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois (Bush 2002).”

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