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AEM's Slater: Steel Tariffs 'Counterproductive'

President Donald Trump said his administration will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Trump said the United States will impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, capping a fierce, months-long internal debate that reportedly divided some of the president's top advisers. 

Anticipating the move, experts have said the move is likely to invite retaliatory measures from foreign countries. Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement:

"President Trump shouldn’t undercut his own goal of helping U.S. manufacturers 'win' again by imposing counterproductive tariffs on steel imports," Slater said. "The president should reconsider his stated intention to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that will raise costs for equipment manufacturers in the United States and undermine our industry’s global competitiveness. 

"About 30 percent of equipment manufactured in the United States is eventually intended for export," Slater said. "Tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports will burden U.S. manufacturers with higher costs while our competitors in China, India and Mexico will get a free pass to use the cheapest input materials they can find. If President Trump wants to boost domestic steel production, the best way would be to invest in our infrastructure system, and focus on further streamlining regulations."

The United States imports most of its steel – 16 percent – from Canada. It imports 13 percent from Brazil, 10 percent from South Korea, 9 percent from Mexico and 9 percent from Russia, according to a Department of Commerce report from December 2017.