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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Industry and Labor Applaud U.S. Trade Deal with Japan to Counter Unfair Trade Practices by China


Following the recently announced agreement between the U.S. and Japan to allow historically-based sustainable volumes of Japanese steel products to enter the U.S. market without the application of Section 232 tariffs, industry and labor leaders are applauding the deal, which will counter unfair trade practices by China and is another example of President Biden’s focus on strengthening relationships with our vital allies and partners.

Yesterday’s announcement, made by Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine C. Tai, builds on a similar deal struck between the U.S. and the EU, and will further help to rebuild relationships with our global partners as we continue our work to counter practices by China that harm our industries and workers. Here’s what industry, labor, manufacturing, and elected leaders are saying about the deal:

American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI): “We thank Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai for ensuring that, as the United States and Japan seek to expand their cooperation on addressing global steel excess capacity and related trade and customs enforcement matters, a tariff-rate quota (TRQ) on steel imports from Japan will be established under Section 232 to prevent another steel import surge that would undermine our industry and destroy good paying American jobs. We appreciate the Biden administration’s continued recognition that the American steel industry is critical to our national and economic security and to efforts to build a more sustainable U.S. economy. Proper implementation and enforcement of the TRQ will be essential to the ongoing success of the Section 232 program, as will continued vigorous enforcement of our laws to prevent circumvention and evasion of U.S. trade remedy measures on steel.”

United Steel Workers (USW): “President Biden and his administration from day one pursued initiatives and policies that promote fair trade and preserve domestic jobs. Nowhere has this commitment been more pronounced than in its careful evaluation of the Section 232 relief measures for steel and aluminum…The arrangement with Japan, which leaves aluminum 232 measures in place and sets tariff rate quotas on steel, demonstrates that President Biden understands that we must move beyond the less-effective, one-size-fits-all approach of the previous administration. Through this deal, the administration was able to negotiate steel import volumes that provide for the continued success of our domestic industries while maintaining opportunities to work together with Japan to address global overcapacity and other areas of mutual concern. In particular, ‘melted and poured’ requirements will ensure that steel imports from Japan are actually produced there, which will help stem circumvention and allow workers in both countries an opportunity to succeed. Far too many U.S. workers and their communities have fallen victim to the non-market predatory practices of China and other countries. We commend the administration for its commitment to working toward a larger trade policy that preserves our national security and allows our critical industries to thrive.” 

Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA): “The SMA is pleased with this agreement. It shows that the U.S. government is committed to negotiating alternative schemes to the 232 tariffs on a case-by-case, country-by-country basis. We are particularly glad to see that exclusion-based imports of Japanese steel products will count against the quota volumes. In 2021, 58 percent of Japanese imports came to our shores as exclusions. This represents approximately 550,000 metric tons of steel products. The melted and poured requirement will help prevent circumvention and transshipment of steel products and the inclusion of an adjustment mechanism will allow the flexibility needed to deal with changes in the global steel market. Overall, this is a strong deal for American steelmakers and it shows that we should not take a one size fits all approach when it comes to our jobs, environment and economic growth.”

New Democrats Coalition: “New Dems welcome the agreement the Biden administration has made with Japan to allow the duty-free import of steel from Japan, and we look forward to further progress to roll-back Trump era Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from other allies and close trading partners. Eliminating these tariffs will provide relief for domestic manufacturers and consumers at a time when prices are rising for American families”

Alliance for American Manufacturing: “The arrangement announced between the United States and Japan today recognizes the value of steel production to America’s economic and national security. Sensible tariff rate quotas and a ‘melted and poured’ requirement will allow American steelworkers and steelmakers to grow and contribute to rebuilding our nation.”