According to several reports, tariffs on foreign steel have saved a huge number of jobs in the US.
Kevin Dempsey, acting president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), stressed the importance of maintaining US steel tariffs.
According to him, American steel is the most energy efficient and cleanest steel in the world. Capacity utilization in the steel industry has been at a consistently low level for most of the past decade since the great recession of 2009.
In 2018, the administration imposed tariffs on steel imports into the country to protect the domestic steel industry. This helped American industry to increase steel production. Consequently, the capacity utilization rate has recovered. Tariffs have also led to lower market penetration for imports.
According to several reports, tariffs on foreign steel have saved a large number of US jobs. In addition, several steelmakers have restarted closed plants or announced their decision to invest billions of dollars in upgrading existing or building new plants.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the industry hard: steel production in the country has dropped to low levels due to restrictions caused by the pandemic and limited production schedules. An estimated 8,600 steelworkers have lost their jobs. According to him, the situation would be even worse without tariffs.
Meanwhile, Dempsey noted that China has set new production levels, while most steel producers around the world have had to cut production in response to weaker demand. This Asian country is believed to maintain huge reserves of steel, ready to flood the market.