Tariffs on steel and aluminum will jeopardize many of the 1.3 million jobs that fall within the equipment manufacturing industry, according to Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
On May 31, the United States government announced they would impose a 25 per cent tariff on foreign steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum. The same day, Canada announced it would impose tariffs equaling $16.6 billion on American steel, aluminum and other products.
As well, the European Union has notified the World Trade Organization that it plans to implement tariffs to generate about $1.6 billion from American made goods.
“Starting a trade war with three of our nation’s largest trading partners and strongest allies will disrupt the entire global trading system, placing American manufacturing jobs at risk,” Slater said. “These harmful tariffs will directly contribute to higher steel prices, increase costs for agriculture and construction machinery, wreak havoc on the business operations of equipment manufacturers, and jeopardize many of the 1.3 million good-paying jobs our industry supports.”
Slater added the tariffs will also eliminate much of the positive economic benefits of last year’s tax reform.
US President Donald Trump previously granted exemptions to Canada and Mexico, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, the steel exemption expires June 1.
That move earned applause from Slater, as well as AED President and CEO Brian McGuire, who crafted a joint letter asking for an exemption for Canada.
“Your administration’s decision to grant temporary exemption of tariffs on Canadian steel imports is strongly supported by our members. The U.S. and Canada maintain a tightly integrated market for steel,” McGuire and Slater wrote in the letter.
The letter also urged the Trump administration to modernize NAFTA, instead of cancelling the deal entirely. AED and AEM explain the United States records a $3 billion a year trade surplus in heavy equipment with Canada and Mexico.
Checkout AEM’s television commercial discouraging steel tariffs: