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Call to Rescind Steel Tariffs on USMCA Partners

12/13/2018

Prior to concluding negotiations for the USMCA, replacing NAFTA, the White House noted that tariffs on steel and aluminum would only be canceled if a new and fair NAFTA agreement were concluded. White House commentators stated that the tariffs were a negotiating tactic to obtain the best deal possible.

An opinion article in The Wall Street Journal December 10th edition by David McIntosh, a former U.S. Representative from the state of Indiana called for lifting tariffs on Canada and Mexico. McIntosh stated “The ball is now in Congress’ court. Congress need not be limited by the President’s take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum on USMCA.” He advocated that Congress leadership should refuse to bring the legislation ratifying the USMCA up for a vote until the tariffs are lifted with respect to Canada and Mexico.

McIntosh stated that almost a third of American steel imports come from Canada and Mexico collectively with only three percent from China. He correctly characterizes tariffs as indirect taxes on U.S. manufacturers and by extension, on consumers. The tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum add approximately $300 to the purchase price of an American automobile according to Morningstar. More important, a study from the Trade Partnership estimates that U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs together with the punitive responses by trading partners may place as many as 400,000 U.S. jobs in jeopardy.

The price of steel components for new aviary houses and their installations including modules now reflect the imposition of tariffs since the cost of domestic steel has escalated to match the price of imported steel components. The negotiation is over, we need the USMCA but even more we need to restore trust among our trading partners in the tripartite pact.