The World Reacts to President Trump's Section 232 Decision
Reaction from around the world has been swift. Here’s a sampling of what industry representatives and government officials are saying:
"About one-fourth of domestic steel capacity today is not being utilized. This is fueled by the massive excess steel capacity in the world today, which is more than eight times larger than the annual output of all U.S. steel producers, and driven by subsidies and other interventionist foreign government policies. That translates into idled plants and the loss of thousands of jobs. We are pleased that the president is addressing this issue and look forward to the formal announcement next week."
-- Thomas J. Gibson, American Iron and Steel Institute president and chief executive
"We support and commend President Trump for announcing today the actions he plans to take to stem the tide of unfairly traded steel imports that threaten the national security of our country. This is a strong, important step to combat the effects of global steel overcapacity and address actions by other countries to circumvent U.S. trade laws and orders designed to ensure a level playing field."
-- Roger Newport, AK Steel Corp. chief executive
"The 25% tariffs to be imposed next week will support our ability to continue to produce iron ore pellets and steel in our country, enhancing a vibrant manufacturing economy and our national security. Artificially cheap steel boosted by subsidies, dumping and circumvention are not signs of competitiveness; these are just signs of blatant disregard to real free trade and to our trade laws. Once free from these unfair practices, we will finally have a level playing field for steel in the United States."
-- Lourenco Goncalves, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. chairman and chief executive
"We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect US domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification. Protectionism cannot be the answer to our common problem in the steel sector. Instead of providing a solution, this move can only aggravate matters. The EU has been a close security ally of the US for decades. We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk. I had the occasion to say that the EU would react adequately and that's what we will do. The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests."
-- European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
"Tariffs on steel and aluminum are a tax hike the American people don’t need and can’t afford. I encourage the president to carefully consider all of the implications of raising the cost of steel and aluminum on American manufacturers and consumers."
-- U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch
"The imposition of a tariff like this will do nothing other than distort trade and ultimately, we believe, will lead to a loss of jobs. My concern remains that on the back of actions like this we could see retaliatory measures that are put in place by other major economies. That is in no-one’s interest."
-- Steven Ciobo, Australian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment
"This is a stupid trade protection measure, which will only make the U.S. weaker instead of stronger."
-- Li Xinchuang, China Iron & Steel Association vice chairman
"The WTO is clearly concerned at the announcement of U.S. plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum. The potential for escalation is real, as we have seen from the initial responses of others. A trade war is in no one’s interests. The WTO will be watching the situation very closely."
-- Roberto Azevêdo, World Trade Organization director general