To Our Valued Customers:
Section 232 and What It Means
As of March 2, 2018
This will be the first of many communications on Section 232. As information develops, we want to keep you informed. Here is what we know as of today:
We have reviewed the US Department of Commerce Report: The Effect of Imports of Steel on the National Security (An Investigation Conducted Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as Amended, dated January 11, 2018.) A copy of the report and its attachments can be found at the US Department of Commerce website. This investigation was initiated to determine if the importation of steel and other metals is threatening our national security.
Yesterday, the President stated his intention to impose 25% tariffs on all steel coming in to the country. We have heard that there may be some countries exempted from this requirement. As we write this, we do not know the timing of the proposed tariffs.
We are very concerned that enactment of the tariffs, or any of the recommendations in the report, by the President will cause serious financial hardship to our customer base and will do more harm than good for national security. It is our intention to oppose the tariff. We will also attempt to seek some exceptions on products and countries where we think our customers will be hurt the most.
We will also argue that much more thought and analysis has to go into this issue before any decision should be made. As it stands, we feel the recommended actions are much too broad. A blanket approach fails to take the specifics of each product into account. For example, we are not aware of significant production of 17-7 rod in the USA.
As you know, we do give preference to domestic mills wherever possible. We enjoy long outstanding relationships with many domestic mills. We want them to thrive. We constantly work with them to improve all aspects of quality and competitiveness. In some cases, however, we find that domestic mills cannot meet the quality standards or quality standards at a competitive cost required by our customers. In those cases, we will buy foreign material.
We recognize that there are instances of unfair competition by foreign countries. We applaud efforts to protect our domestic steel industry. But as pointed out above, let’s approach the problem by looking very closely at each product and each country.
We encourage all of you to immediately contact your elected representatives if you share our view that the proposed actions will significantly increase your costs of doing business and limit the competitiveness of US manufacturing.
We know that you will have many questions on the cost and availability of material. We are diligently looking at all of our items. It will be difficult for us to provide answers until we have more information on the timing of the proposed tariffs.
We will keep updating you as we learn more information.
William J. Torres
President & CEO