• Dec 15, 2006
Yesterday the U.S. International Trade Commission lifted tariffs on imported steel from Australia, Canada, France and Japan, and there was much rejoicing in the boardrooms of many automakers that build cars and trucks in the U.S. The tariffs were originally put in place on cheap steel imported into the U.S. from a total of six countries that threatened to collapse the U.S. steel industry back in 1993. Some 13 years later, the U.S. steel industry is healthy, and the tariffs that once were helpful, are now creating artificially high steel prices in the U.S.

Six automakers including General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Nissan and Toyota lobbied hard for this outcome and were extremely pleased yesterday, despite not getting tariffs lifted against steel imported from Germany and Korea, tariffs on both of which will remain in place until reviewed again in 2011.

The rising cost of raw materials, steel in particular, has been a constant thorn in the side of our own domestic auto industry, the members of which are busy trying to orchestrate complex turnarounds at the moment. Hopefully market prices for steel will begin to drop as competition to sell this all-important ingredient in modern day cars heats up again.

[Source: Just-Auto]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Grrreaat. Lower cost mean more profit and bigger CEO pay check!!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Anyone have any numbers about how this will effect the cost of vehicles?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would hope that the automakers pass this savings on to us, but no suprises if they don't.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ["Anyone have any numbers about how this will effect the cost of vehicles?"]

      ["This means cheaper cars for us consumers right? :-)"]

      You people trust corporations far too much...
      • 8 Years Ago
      This means cheaper cars for us consumers right? :-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      does that mean other countries will now lift their tariffs on American goods?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Accordsforall, how dare you wish a kia or daewoo on any one that is like the unforgiveable sin of all car fans. And you don't know any better, i believe that the extra money will go into making a better product. Put the money into development of RWD platforms or in the interiors and then youve got something. What bugs me about these forums are the self righteous Japanese car owners who think your companies can do nothing wrong and that they love you guys, every forum has them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Price reductions? No, most will go to the bottom line.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm in favor of free trade without any barriers. Having studied economics, it is the best thing. Free trade does not cause job loss, it merely reshuffles them.

      Anyways, it is good that steel prices will be lower now. This will allow companies to improve products elsewhere, namely quality of interior plastics, R&D in new technology. That sort of thing. So yes the consumer benefits.

      I will always love economics because only this field accurately represents the overall picture.
      • 8 Years Ago
      @Jason

      Steel prices were around USD425 a ton back in 2001 the last time these tariffs were reviewed. Steel prices are now around USD750 a ton.

      @Shawn

      No, it doesn't mean that other countries will reduce tariffs on US goods. Tariffs like those imposed by the ITC are unilateral by the US only. Only the Congress can impose tariffs as a customs tax. Though, if the President negotiates a free-trade treaty either bilaterally like NAFTA or multilaterally like GATT, the Senate must review and approve the treaty on behalf of the US.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Gary, your explanation for how we helped foreign industry post ww2 is absolutely absurd. We gave them some assistance, yes, but in the meantime, US industries profited IMMENSELY from having no large industrial competition in the world. Japan, Europe, and Russia's industrial economy was in ruins, and US factories shipped goods all over the world. WE had the advantage. They certainly don't deserve financial assistance, now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "10. does that mean other countries will now lift their tariffs on American goods?"

      Of course not Shawn, but the people who support "free-trade" don't like to discuss the fact that it's mostly a one way street. Free trade in the American market and no access to other markets for our goods.

      That's one of the reasons why the Japanese autos are doing so well. They have a protected home market. The Chinese demand that cars sold there, be built there or they face huge tariffs.

      That said, the tariffs on raw materials hits U.S. manufacturers hard, especially smaller auto parts makers. Finished goods on the other hand are another story, we need to level the playing field and demand access to other markets, especially the Jaopnese market which is the third largest auto market in the world.
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