New Steel Tariffs on Brazil and Argentina?

President Trump announced via tweet on Monday that he was imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina due to both governments devaluating their currencies. These two countries previously had reached a deal with the Trump administration to avoid Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs by agreeing to quotas. Both Argentina and Brazil were exempted from the 232 steel and aluminum tariffs in May 2018. The tariffs can’t be “restored” because the two countries were not subject to tariffs in the first place. The exemptions for both countries required Presidential Proclamations, and to change the quotas to tariffs would require new proclamations as tariffs can’t be re-imposed by a tweet. At this writing, we are still awaiting these proclamations.

If the President does move forward with these tariffs, it would likely lead to an immediate legal challenge. A current U.S. Court of International Trade case (Transpacific Steel v U.S.) is focused on this exact issue of wh…

President Trump Announces Phase One Deal with China, Suspends Tariff Increase

After meeting with Chinese officials on October 11, 2019, President Trump announced his administration had reached a limited Phase I trade deal with China, largely maintaining the status quo and preventing future escalation. While negotiators have yet to put pen to paper, both sides hope to have a document ready for signature by President Trump and President Xi of China at the November 12-14 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. Both sides indicate that if they sign Phase I, they will immediately move forward negotiating a broader Phase II deal.

President Trump also announced he would suspend the tariff increase of 25 to 30 percent on more than 7,000 Chinese goods that was slated to take effect October 15. The President, however, stated he was undecided about implementing another round of tariffs on $125 billion of mostly consumer goods from China set to take effect on December 15. If the Phase I deal is not signed next month, those deals likely will still go into place. …

Labor Department Finalizes Overtime Rule

On September 24, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final overtime exemption rule issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act, increasing the minimum salary threshold for workers to qualify for overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week. By increasing the threshold for employers subject to the federal standard to $35,568, up from the current threshold of $23,660 set in 2004, the agency claims 1.3 million more American workers will be eligible for overtime pay.

The DOL’s final rule, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, includes:

Increasing the minimum salary required for an employee to qualify for exemption from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week ($35,568 annually); Increasing the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” (HCE) from the currently enforced level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year; Allowing employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least …

PMA Members Testify Against Proposed Copper-Alloy Tariffs

The United States has been engaged in an ongoing dispute with the European Union (EU) regarding EU subsidies to Airbus. The U.S. has initiated a Section 301 investigation to enforce its rights in the dispute that could result in high tariffs on a range of EU imports. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a list of EU exports that could face a 100-percent tariff that included copper-based alloys from the European Union. Tariffs on these imported alloys would be devastating to many PMA members because there are no U.S. mills that can replace these products.

PMA is taking a lead in opposing these tariffs. PMA President David Klotz and several PMA members, including Dan Kendall, president, ABC Metals; Charles Bernard, president, Eagle Metals; and Michael Jemison, chairman, Heyco Metals, testified in Washington, D.C., at an August 5 hearing about the proposed tariffs organized by the office of the USTR. In their testimonies, PMA members strongly urged the USTR not to impo…

Trade War Averted or Trade War Delayed?

By: Josh Zive, Senior Principal, Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell

At 8:30 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 7, President Trump announced that the tariffs scheduled to be placed on imports from Mexico on June 10 were being suspended when he tweeted that:

“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended. Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States. Details of the agreement will be released shortly by the State Department. Thank you!”
This tweet ended the most recent chapter of tariff and immigration disputes with Mexico, but it has not ended the larger controversies surrounding trade policy with Mexico. In the wake of the Preside…

U.S. Terminates Steel and Aluminum Tariffs for Mexico and Canada

In what could be the beginning of the end of the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, on May 17, the Trump Administration reached a deal to terminate the tariffs on Canada and Mexico. The president’s proclamation states that the United States “agreed on a range of measures” to prevent dumping of steel from either country and to avoid import surges. The measures were included to address the Trump Administration’s concerns that China was transshipping steel into the United States via Canada and Mexico.

Importantly, the tariffs were not replaced with import quotas as some had feared. PMA’s team in Washington, D.C. was active in conveying to U.S. negotiators that quotas are even worse than tariffs for U.S. companies. This shows that our voices are being heard. The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users, of which PMA is a founding member, urged the Trump Administration to terminate the remaining Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on other trading partners as quickly as …

U.S.-China Trade War Heats Up

A continued stalemate in trade negotiations has resulted in the U.S.-China trade war heating up this past week. On May 10, the United States raised the 10 percent duty to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of imports from China. Included in “List 3” of 5,745 products now subject to a 25 percent import tax are machinery and mechanical appliances such as hydraulic presses, drilling machines, forging or die-stamping machines; ships and boats such as canoes, sailboats and motorboats; live or frozen fish and crustaceans; sunscreen, makeup and shampoo; carpet and other floor coverings; wooden home furnishings; and even string Christmas lights.

On May 13, the Chinese Foreign Ministry declared that China “will never succumb to external pressure” and announced $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs that will take effect on June 1. The retaliatory tariffs are based on the list of products released by China last September, and more than 5,000 products exported to China from the United States will face …