Some prominent US ports have registered their concern and disapproval at the planned steel and aluminium tariffs that President Donald Trump’s administration has introduced.
Announced at the start of this month and imposed on Thursday, the tariffs – 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminium – are part of the President’s long-declared intention to boost domestic production of the metals by levelling the trade playing field with what he sees as “unfair”, subsidized foreign competitors.
The executive director of Port Houston, Roger Guenther, warned that such a heavy tariff would have a damaging effect on cargo volumes with negative knock-on effects for employment and the economy in Texas. Houston is a major gateway for steel imports.
And the Northwest Seaports Alliance (NWSA) a joint venture of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, also said the tariffs would probably have broad negative economic consequences for Washington state with potentially worse ramifications to come if other countries hit back with tariffs of their own.
Louisiana’s Port of New Orleans expressed similar worries.
In a revision to the initial surprise announcement of blanket tariffs, President Trump said that Canada and Mexico would be exempt from the tariffs, at least to begin with.
But he would reserve the right to reinstate them if he’s not happy with renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).