When the federal government imposed its tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, it created a provision whereby firms could request an exemption to the Department of Commerce.
At the time this exemption was announced, the Commerce Department estimated they would receive about 4,500 exclusion requests from the steel tariff and 1,500 from the aluminum tariffs.
According to this article from The Hill, those predictions were way off.
As of Sep. 10, U.S. manufacturers from across the country have filed 28,769 exclusion requests for steel and 3,674 for aluminum….
Ask any U.S. manufacturer, and they’ll tell you they need access to competitively priced raw materials to stay viable in the U.S. market and their export markets.
Some U.S. manufacturers need specialty steel, and the only place they may be able to get that from is abroad. It should come as no surprise that U.S. firms have filed thousands of requests to be excluded from these tariffs.
According to this interactive data compiled by TradeVistas, North Carolina companies have filed roughly 200 exemption requests. These companies rightly view the tariffs as a threat to their bottom line and their ability to sustain jobs.
A few jobs in the steel and aluminum manufacturing industries may indeed be protected by such tariffs, but negative effects far outweigh any gains.
There are 6.5 million American workers in steel-consuming sectors, about 40 times the number working in the steel industry. Increasing the price of something that so many manufacturers need is obviously going to cause grief….We have been here before. The number of jobs lost to the March 2002 steel tariffs exceeded the entire number of people in the steel sector. As documented by the Trade Partnership, “[M]ore American workers lost their jobs to higher steel prices than the total number employed by the U.S. steel industry itself (187,500 Americans were employed by U.S. steel producers in December 2002).” (emphasis added)