Wilbur Ross: Tariffs Will Help Bring Back US Steel Industry

Image: Wilbur Ross: Tariffs Will Help Bring Back US Steel Industry
(Getty Images) By Jason Devaney

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross defended the Trump administration’s decision to place tariffs on imported steel and aluminum by saying the plan aims to bring back America’s steel industry. Ross penned an opinion piece for Friday’s Wall Street Journal and argued that steel production in the United States has plummeted over the last two decades to the point where something needs to be done.”Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed. More than 75,000 steel jobs alone have disappeared,” Ross wrote. “Today, the U.S. has only one steel mill that can produce the advanced alloys used in armored-vehicle plating; one aluminum smelter that makes the high-grade aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications; and one steel mill that makes the materials needed for infrastructure like electrical transformers.”These tariffs aim to reverse this sorry state of affairs.”  The tariffs, which President Donald Trump signed into action Thursday via an executive order, place a 25 percent tax on imported steel and a 10 percent tax on imported aluminum. Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs.Ross conceded that the tariffs will lead to price increases at the consumer level, but those will be small. For example, he said the typical American car payment may go up by $4 per month.  Ross, who founded and sold a steel company in the early 2000s, said national security is at stake because China supplies a chunk of the steel that finds its way to the U.S. Trump and members of his administration claim China ships steel through other countries, a practice known as transshipping.”Unfair trading practices from countries like China have distorted the global steel and aluminum markets. It is time to halt the damage,” Ross wrote. “Countries should take responsibility for their unfair practices and work together to address the underlying problems facing these industries. The U.S. is ready and willing to engage in such efforts.”