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AIIS: Bump In Imported Steel Anticipated Tariffs

The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS), a trade group that bills itself as “the only steel-related trade association that supports free trade,” reported on June 14 that steel imports to the U.S. increased  12.7 percent from March to April to 3.76 million net tons in anticipation of tariffs on steel announced by the Trump administration. April is the most recent month for which accurate figures are available.

April’s total, which was 12.1 percent higher than the monthly total a year earlier, included 705,000 net tons from Canada (9.2 percent higher than in March and more than a third higher than in April 2017).

The United States also imported 478,000 net tons from the European Union (a monthly increase of more than one-fifth, but nearly 14 percent lower than in April of last year), 475,000 net tons from South Korea (nearly 50 percent higher than both the previous month and the previous April), and 467,000 net tons from Russia (a 60.5 percent month-to-month increase and 11.2 percent growth from a year earlier).

Through the first four months of the year, imports were 1.2 percent higher than they were during the same time in 2017 at 12.45 million net tons.

In a press release, the AIIS predicted price increases for American consumers, saying, “The increases in imports are hardly surprising, given President Trump’s March announcement of 25 percent tariffs on steel, with temporary exemptions for Canada, the European Union and certain others. Businesses were stocking up as much as they could. With the exemptions having expired on June 1, the numbers will probably be similar in May, followed by a sharp drop-off. After that will likely come a scaling back of capital expenditures, price increases for consumers and a slowdown of what had the potential to be the strongest economic growth in 20 years.”

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