Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) lauded a Trump administration decision to ease 232 ‘national security' quotas on steel and aluminum imports from Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea for large infrastructure projects that had contracts in place before March 2018.
This decision comes on the heels of a letter Senator Toomey sent to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last week detailing the threat these quotas posed to Pennsylvania manufacturers and contractors that have pre-existing contracts with steel producers in these countries. Most notably, the president's proclamation addresses a serious concern of Shell Chemical Appalachia, which is currently constructing a multi-billion dollar petrochemical facility in Beaver County. Without this change, the company would not have been able to import the required steel products due to the quotas, leading to construction delays and threatening high-paying jobs.
"I appreciate the Trump administration removing import quotas for some companies engaged in large scale infrastructure projects. This decision will preserve good jobs not only in Beaver County, but across the country," said Senator Toomey. "While this is a step in the right direction, these companies and their workers will still be at a competitive disadvantage as they will be required to pay tariffs instead of being able to freely buy the materials needed for their operations. It is time for Congress to re-assert its constitutional authority on trade matters by passing the bipartisan Corker-Toomey legislation."
Earlier this year, the Department of Commerce imposed a 25 percent tax on steel imports and a 10 percent tax on aluminum imports under the false pretext that the tariffs are necessary for national security. However, instead of bolstering the national defense, these taxes unfairly punish American manufacturers that cannot source steel and aluminum from domestic suppliers due to quality and quantity reasons. As a result, domestic businesses which use steel and aluminum as inputs have struggled to provide affordable finished products to consumers and support well-paying American jobs.