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HomeWorldBiden admin to tax foreign-made steel and aluminum imports routed through Mexico

Biden admin to tax foreign-made steel and aluminum imports routed through Mexico

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum shipped from Mexico and made elsewhere – an attempt to China stop to avoid import duties by transporting goods through one of the United States’ closest trading partners.

Lael Brainard, director of the White House National Economic Council, said the tariffs announced Wednesday will be imposed as part of an agreement with Mexico through Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which applies to imports that could endanger U.S. national security.

There will be a 25% tariff on steel not smelted or cast in Mexico and a 10% tariff on aluminum.

The new steel taxes are intended to tackle tariff evasion by China, the dominant producer of more than half the world’s steel. The aluminum taxes would also hit production in China, Belarus, Iran and Russia.

The move is also a clear political attack on Republicans. Donald Trump, President Joe Biden predecessor and his likely opponent in the November election. Brainard noted that Trump could have taken similar actions but did not.

“The president is taking action to close loopholes left by his predecessor that allowed China to circumvent trade rules,” she said.

The financial impact of the tariffs will likely be limited, given the volumes of steel and aluminum shipped through Mexico.

Administration officials said the U.S. imported 3.8 million metric tons of steel from Mexico last year, 13 percent of which was cast or smelted outside the country. Likewise, the U.S. imported 105,000 metric tons of aluminum from Mexico, and only 6 percent of which was smelted or cast outside the country.

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Still, the issue could be politically relevant. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has called for a halt to Mexican steel imports, saying a “surge” from that country poses a threat to U.S. steelworkers and is a way to avoid tariffs.

Brown is seeking re-election against Republican Bernie Moreno, a wealthy businessman from Cleveland. Ohio was once a political bellwether but has voted for Trump in the past two presidential elections.

The implementation of the new rates will begin on Wednesday with the announcement.

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