December 7, 2023

Washington Wire: More than 300 Manufacturers Call on President to Terminate Steel, Aluminum Tariffs


More than 300 Manufacturers Call on President to Terminate Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

A group of over 300 businesses manufacturing in the U.S.—from family-owned metalforming shops to nationally branded companies—sent a letter to President Joe Biden on May 6, requesting the immediate termination of the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on our trade and national security allies imposed three years ago under the previous administration. Together, the companies represent a broad swath of a U.S. manufacturing sector currently struggling to meet demand and stay competitive due to supply shortages, long lead times, and artificially high prices for their key inputs.
The White House confirmed receipt of the letter spearheaded by One Voice and sources indicate the administration is making incremental progress in talks with our allies on the Section 232 National Security 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminum imports. One Voice members and manufacturers across the country report continued delays and record pricing as the domestic metals shortage continues. One Voice is working with the administration, partners on Capitol Hill, and others in industry to address China overcapacity in the metals markets while bringing relief from businesses manufacturing in America who are the ones paying the price of a restricted market, tariffs, and delays.



The U.S. and EU Reach Truce on Tariffs
The European Union (EU) agreed to not escalate the trade dispute stemming from former President Trump’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. Following weeks of talks between the two sides, the EU agreed to not increase their retaliatory tariffs on a range of American products, which was set to double from 25% to 50% on June 1. Under the agreement, both sides will continue with their dialogue about overcapacity in the steel industry while working to find a way to lift the tariffs.
The retaliatory tariffs have been in place since May 2018 on products such as bourbon, whiskey, orange juice, tobacco, peanut butter, and rice as well as a broad range of tubes, pipes and rolled steels in the industrial sector. Also included are appliances such as grills, sinks, ventilators and ladders and miscellaneous items like lipstick, bed linen, motorcycles, trousers yachts and other motor boats.
The hope is that through the dialog between the U.S. and the EU, and agreement can be reached to lift the tariffs by the end of the year. One Voice will continue, however, to push to have the tariffs removed as soon as possible and organized a letter to President Biden signed by over 300 manufacturers calling on him to terminate the tariffs on our trade and national security allies.



Biden to Release Budget on May 27
President Biden will release his full 2022 fiscal year budget proposal just before Memorial Day on Thursday, May 27. The Presidential Budget Request (PBR) will detail spending and policy proposals for the next fiscal year as well as taxes and spending during the next decade.
Biden released a $1.5 trillion “skinny” budget in early April focusing on topline numbers for discretionary spending which included significant increases for the Department of Commerce and the EPA, with only a 1.7% increase in Defense spending.
The full FY22 PBR will include detailed spending figures for individual federal programs as well as projections for major mandatory spending programs such as Social Security and Medicare. The release of the non-binding budget proposal will begin in full Congress’ appropriations process.  
The Department of Treasury is also expected to release its “Green Book.” The General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 Revenue Proposals will offer a detailed look at President Biden’s revenue proposals such as the tax proposals included in the American Families Plan.



EPA Reverses Cost-Benefit Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rescinded a rule issued by the Trump administration on the way the EPA used cost-benefit analysis (BCA) when issuing Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations.
Finalized in December 2020, the rule, “Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Benefits and Costs in the Clean Air Act Rulemaking Process,” also known as the Benefit-Cost Rule, codified the requirements and process for BCA that EPA must conduct for “significant” CAA regulations. The process and requirements under the rule focused on the direct public health and welfare benefits that pertain to the specific objective of the CAA provision(s) rather than relying on indirect or co-benefits which may have resulted from the regulation. Environmental groups targeted the rule, arguing that the requirements limited the Agency from considering important co-benefits on a CAA regulation and thus underestimating the overall benefit compared to costs.
The interim final rule issued by the EPA on May 13, 2020, rescinded the Benefit-Cost Rule stating that the rule was “inadvisable, untethered to the [Clean Air Act], and not necessary to effectuate the purposes of the Act.



China Legislative Package Moving
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) began to move a package of proposals to counter China on the Senate floor this week. Central to the package is Senator Schumer’s own bill the Endless Frontier Act which would support R&D investment in key technology areas including robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing.
Originally, the bill included $100 billion for a new Directorate for Technology and Innovation at the National Science Foundation to direct the new R&D spending. However, the Senate Commerce Committee stripped more than half the funding, directing it to the Department of Energy and its national labs with lawmakers arguing that the money would duplicate efforts already underway at DOE. Schumer and Senator Todd Young (R-IN), the lead Republican sponsor of the bill, are hopeful there is a way to restore the funding.
The Senate could also act on the Strategic Competition Act, passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee, which bolsters the U.S. diplomatic strategy in address China by prioritizing security aid for the Indo-Pacific region. The bill includes measures to track intellectual property violators, Chinese government subsidies, circumvention of U.S. export controls, as well as strengthening U.S. competitiveness.
Additional measures that could be brought to the floor and included in the larger package are several “Buy America” bills. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs advanced several pieces of legislation aimed at closing perceived Buy American loopholes, such as the Build America, Buy America Act, the Act of 2021, and the Make PPE in America Act.
These bills all come after Schumer asked eight committee chairs to draft provisions aimed at countering China by curbing Beijing’s economic influence, human rights abuses and threats to U.S. national security while boosting America’s global competitiveness.