Though the Trump White House announced earlier that tariffs on other goods emanating from the country, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed that tariffs upon aluminium and steel will continue unabated.
Mnuchin assured members of the Senate Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee of the continued imposition of tariffs when he addressed them on Tuesday.
“As it relates to China, the steel and aluminum tariffs will remain in force. Those were not part of our discussions.”
Two days prior the Treasury Secretary announced that the administration has chosen to delay implementation of tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which arose after an investigation into China’s allegedly spotty record of complying with intellectual property laws. Per Mnuchin, D.C. and Beijing have since ironed out an understanding on the subject, as well as coming to an agreement with the United States’ trade deficit with the Middle Kingdom.
China has long faced criticism for its runaway aluminium capacity, and the Section 232 tariffs are largely understood to have been aimed at reducing the cascade of below-market aluminium into the United States. Though a handful of countries have been granted temporary and/or long-term exemptions from the measure, China has never been considered a candidate for such an exemption.
While the blanket 10-percent tariffs on aluminium imports is likely to remain in place for some time, the Trump administration and Beijing have come to terms on a deal to lower imports of American automobiles into China from 25 percent to 15 percent.
The blanket tariff on aluminium imports came into effect on March 23 as a response to a Commerce Department investigation on the possible national security implications of the government’s reliance upon overseas sources of specialty aluminium needed for niche military and defense applications. The sanctions have been roundly criticized, and experts credit it with fostering significant uncertainty in the global aluminium trade.