California Expects to Suffer from Trump’s New Steel Tariffs

California steel worker (David McNew / Getty)
David McNew / Getty

California expects to suffer from President Donald Trump’s looming tariffs on aluminum (10%) and steel (25%). That’s because the state prefers to import steel from Asia and Latin America rather buying it from U.S. factories.

The Los Angeles Times notes:

In California, industry leaders and analysts argue that the tariffs would provide no benefits to steel manufacturers on the West Coast — companies that import steel in the form of slabs and coils, rather than making it from iron ore. They use that to create finished products for a vast array of businesses across the United States. Those companies also worry that the tariffs would drive up the price of domestic steel.

On the West Coast, steel manufacturers largely depend on imported steel from Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia. It is cheaper to ship steel over the ocean than by road or rail from eastern U.S. foundries.

Last year, California imported almost $2 billion in iron and steel, a 6% increase from the previous year. The state imported $2 billion worth of aluminum, a 25% increase from the previous year. About 38% of imported aluminum came from China, according to an analysis by Jock O’Connell, the international trade advisor at Beacon Economics.

Fontana-based California Steel Industries, the largest steel mill in the western United States, depends almost solely on imported semifinished steel slabs, usually from Mexico, Brazil and Japan.

Southern California Public Radio notes that California’s steel companies are worried about the lack of domestic steel supplies as well as competition from foreign manufacturers of finished steel goods, whose costs will likely be lower.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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