Countries are bargaining with the Trump administration to avoid them.
The Trump administration has been roundly criticized by the talking-heads-on-cable-news set for its steel and aluminum tariffs, and the exemption process it set up.
But it looks like it might be bearing the results the administration was trying to produce.
The European Union (EU), which is not happy at all about the tariffs, has “opened a ‘safeguard’ probe into whether the 25 percent levy on foreign steel imposed last week by U.S. President Donald Trump on national-security grounds is diverting worldwide shipments to the EU market.”
“The investigation will determine whether, as a result of unforeseen developments, the products concerned are being imported into the union in such greatly increased quantities and/or on such terms or conditions as to cause, or threaten to cause, serious injury to the union producers,” the commission said on Monday in the Official Journal.
That’s another way of saying the EU is now keeping an eye out for dumped steel products.
On the North American side of the pond, the Canadian government is stepping up its efforts to detect and deter “transshipment” – by which countries might try to pass steel and aluminum through Canada to access the North American market and avoid the Trump tariffs.
Canada, which along with Mexico received a temporary exemption from the tariffs, granted its customs services “greater flexibility in determining whether in determining whether prices charged in the exporter’s domestic market are reliable or distorted,” noted Reuters.
And elsewhere, it appears the administration has revised the U.S. trade deal with South Korea – and secured an agreement to set a quota on Korean steel exports to the United States. According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration used the threat of the steel tariffs at the bargaining table.
No announcement yet from the White House regarding this last deal, so we won’t comment too much on it until official. But if confirmed, it would appear these tariffs have been somewhat effective.