Manufacturers seek tariff relief

Associated Press


Rising costs. Delayed shipments. A baffling bureaucracy.

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported aluminum and steel are disrupting business for American companies that buy those metals, and many are pressing for relief.

Hundreds of companies are asking the Commerce Department to exempt them from the 25 percent steel tariff and the 10 percent aluminum tariff.

Other companies are weighing their options. Jody Fledderman, CEO of Batesville Tool & Die in Indiana, says American steelmakers already have raised their prices since Trump’s tariffs were announced last month. Fledderman says he may have to shift production to a plant in Mexico, where he can buy cheaper steel.

On Wednesday, a group of small- and medium-size manufacturers gathered in Washington to announce a new group – the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users – to fight the steel tariff.

The Trump administration last month imposed the tariffs on steel and aluminum, arguing that reliance on imported metals posed a threat to national security. But it promptly granted temporary exemptions, which expire at the end of the month, to several key U.S. allies, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

Steel- and aluminum-consuming companies also can appeal to the Commerce Department for exemptions – provided they can show they can’t obtain the metals they need from U.S. producers. As of Tuesday, the department had received 2,180 requests for exemptions from the steel tariffs and 240 requests for relief from the aluminum tariffs.

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