On May 17, 2019, the Washington Post, and other news agencies reported that the United States has reached a deal to lift the tariffs it imposes on industrial metals imported from Canada and Mexico. Part of this deal will require Canada and Mexico to help ensure through new monitoring and enforcement actions that steel from China is not being shipped to the U.S. via those countries. The tariffs were lifted 48 hours later. Currently, the tariffs for steel and aluminum are 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The goal of the agreement is to eliminate the practice of transshipment when goods are shipped to an intermediate destination and then to another destination. Simply put, the intention is to prevent the Chinese from “dumping” state-subsidized products in the U.S. marketplace. In March of 2018, President Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, citing national security considerations. As part of the deal, the U.S. will retain the right to re-impose tariffs on these metals if not enough is done to prevent unauthorized imports.
Many see this is as a critical step in the passage of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said he would not advance a deal unless the President dropped steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. President Trump has received a lot of pressure, even from within his own party, for tariff imposition on these and other countries and fueling ‘trade wars.’