Customer Logins

Obtain the data you need to make the most informed decisions by accessing our extensive portfolio of information, analytics, and expertise. Sign in to the product or service center of your choice.

Customer Logins

Trump Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Analysis

Understanding the implications for key metals of 232 and other trade actions.

Economies around the world are enjoying the kind of expansion they have not seen in more than decade, but uncertainty surrounding the potential for protectionist trade wars threaten their upward trajectory

The global economy is on track toward 3.3 percent growth in 2018 and 2019 as expansion becomes more broad-based, encompassing emerging and developed economies. Rising tensions between the US and Mexico, Europe, Canada, and China over trade policy have yet to alter this forecast, but clearly remain an issue that we are monitoring closely.

Follow steel pricing across the globe with Commodity Price Watch
Download now
Section 232 and the potential impact on steel and aluminum prices Complimentary webcast

What has happened so far

  • US President Donald Trump, utilizing powers designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, imposed import tariffs on steel and aluminum that took effect on 23 March 2018. Significant – and supposedly final – changes were imposed on 1 June.
  • Steel prices in the US are already well above almost any country, with 50% premium over Europe and approximately 80% over China.
  • Likewise, the aluminium tariffs have pushed US aluminium prices above those in every other region. Moreover, the US Commerce Department announced on June 19 a preliminary finding that Chinese common alloy aluminium sheet imports had been sold at below market prices and assigned anti-dumping duties of over 100% on selected Chinese producers.
  • The war of words between President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the G7 summit, along with the imposition of tariffs on Canada and Mexico, seriously undermines the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, increasing the likelihood of the talks will be suspended and that of a unilateral US withdrawal.
  • After losing its exemption from 232 tariffs, Canada retaliated by imposing mirror tariff rates on US exports – 25% on steel, 10% on a list of other goods. The US barely imports aluminum from Canada, so Canada targeted other products.
  • After the Trump administration's announcement that the EU would face a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum from 1 June, EU member states across the board condemned the US action and implemented retaliatory measures with “rebalancing” tariffs on a range of US imports to go into effect 22 June.
  • A particularly significant measure of Section 232 that has great impact on the energy industry, is the imposition of steel quotas on Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea. IHS Markit analysis shows that multiple categories of energy pipe and tube are at or near their annual quota. Consumers will not be able to import any additional tubulars, causing disruption for drilling and pipeline operations.
  • On 15 June, US President Donald Trump approved tariffs on Chinese goods, including a 25% tariff on USD50 billion of Chinese exports to the US. Chinese retaliation is likely to prove disruptive for both countries, affecting domestic development targets, with measures probably focused against politically sensitive sectors and regions.
  • US administration was also instructed to prepare an additional list of imports for China worth $200 billion, which may be subject to an additional 10% tariff, should China decide to retaliate against the restrictions announces on 15 June.
  • The European Commission imposed its own safeguard measures on July 18, levied upon 23 steel products. The measures last for 200 days, the maximum allowed under WTO rules. The average level of imports for 2015-2017 are tariff free. Additional tons face a 25% tariff.

Indicators of a changing risk environment

Increasing risk

  • The US Department of Commerce is now investigating imports of vehicles and auto parts as a national security threat under Section 232, as an indicator of tariffs to be imposed on the sector.
  • The Mexican government facing increased domestic pressure from business groups, unions, the media, or opposition politicians, to take new retaliatory actions against the US, as an indicator of new tariffs being imposed by Mexico and the termination of NAFTA.
  • Ongoing pressure by the US on China's industrial policy through investment restrictions, export controls, or targeted restrictions, such as implementation of the proposed limitations on visa terms to Chinese nationals studying in the US, increases the likelihood of Chinese pushback and negotiations breaking down.
  • More aggressive responses by the Chinese government, including administrative restriction on the operation of US multinationals operating in China.

Decreasing risk

  • Legislative proposals by congressional Republicans to limit the president's powers to invoke the Section 232 provision would increase the probability of the administration paring back the tariffs' scope.
  • Broad exemptions for the EU emerging from high-level talks between the US and the EU would indicate increased US flexibility with respect to the universality of the tariffs.
  • Conciliatory words between Presidents Obrador of Mexico and President Trump of the United States give hope of de-escalation of trade issues, including NAFTA renegotiation.


John Anton

Mr. Anton has expertise in the ferrous metals industry, he is responsible for evaluating the outlook for steel. He also specializes in forecasting commodities and works closely with the Automotive, Construction, Energy and Economics teams at IHS Markit. Steel demand is linked to outlooks from these key sectors. In turn, the profitability of these sectors can rise or fall depending on the price and availability of steel.Prior to joining IHS Markit, now IHS Markit, in 1995, he was in the private practice of law as well as an economist and statistician for the United States Department of Labor in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Mr. John Anton received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Florida State University, US, and a Juris Doctor from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, US.

View Profile

Amanda Eglinton

Ms. Eglinton provides price forecasts and market intelligence to enable smarter purchasing decisions and supply chain cost savings for buyers of steel pipe, stainless steel, nickel and other ferroalloys. She also participates in IHS Markit consulting projects as a steel subject matter expert. Prior to joining the Pricing and Purchasing team, Ms. Eglinton was responsible for providing market intelligence on the supply and demand of onshore pipelay contractors and line pipe as part of the IHS Markit Energy Cost and Technology group. She also has experience working as a research analyst for the Emission Reduction Credit (ERC) trading desk at Element Markets, a leading renewable energy company. Ms. Eglinton holds a masters of arts in applied economics from the University of Houston, and a bachelor of science in finance and economics from Saint Louis University.

View Profile

Chris Varvares

Mr. Varvares has nearly 40 years of experience in macroeconomic modeling, forecasting and policy analysis, as co-head of US Economics at IHS Markit, in his previous role as a principal of Macroeconomic Advisers and as a member of the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1981-1982); he served as a member of the US delegation to the OECD in April 1982. Macroeconomic Advisers was acquired by IHS Markit in 2017. He and the IHS Markit US economic principals serve as consultants to key agencies of the US and foreign governments, major trade associations, and private corporations, and are widely quoted in the business and financial media. IHS Markit is widely recognized as among the most accurate forecasters of the US economy. Mr. Varvares is a recent past president and a former director of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). He served as president of the NABE Gateway chapter in St.Louis and is a member of the American Economic Association. He serves as a member of the New York State Economic and Revenue Advisory Board and has participated in the meetings of the Outside Consultants to the CBO, has been a panelist for the World Economic Forum, and he sits on advisory boards for the Olin Business School at Washington University and the Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University. Mr. Varvares holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The George Washington University and received his graduate training (ABD) in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was also a member of the adjunct faculty in both the economics department and the Olin School of Business.

View Profile

Ken Matheny, Ph.D.

Mr. Matheny has more than two decades of experience as a professional economist and macroeconomic forecaster, including economic analysis, econometrics, and financial modeling. He is an expert on Federal Reserve policies, macroeconomic impacts, and interactions with the banking and financial sectors. He writes frequently on macroeconomics, financial markets, and the Federal Reserve. He maintains regular contact with clients and is available for media engagements. He has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Marketplace, and other US and foreign media outlets. Prior to joining IHS Markit, he was a Senior Economist at Macroeconomic Advisers. He was an assistant professor at Purdue University and worked in the banking industry. He holds a Ph.D. from UCLA and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis (Economics and German), magna cum laude.

View Profile

Kathleen Navin, CBE

She joined IHS Markit through the 2017 acquisition of Macroeconomic Advisers, where she joined June 2010. Her primary responsibilities pertain to the US Macro Insights (USMI) service and to special reports and projects that utilize the proprietary macroeconomic model, MA/US. Ms. Navin is the technical lead on the Macroprudential Scenarios Service, coordinating and contributing to the development of scenarios and supporting products. In 2015, she became a member of the National Association of Business Economics' inaugural class of Certified Business Economists. She was a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the division of Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy. Ms. Navin graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 2007 from the University of Missouri, where she went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Economics in 2008.

View Profile

Ben Herzon, Ph.D.

Known as the current-quarter Guru of IHS Markit, Dr. Herzon focuses on translating recent trends in high-frequency data into a near-term forecast of GDP growth with high statistical precision. That includes directing the analysis of the data, authoring data commentaries, running the current-quarter tracking system, designing and maintaining a population-weighted snowfall database and conducting other research that requires a heavy dose of statistical horsepower. In addition, he writes portions of the forecast reports and conducts and reports research on a variety of macro topics. He joined Macroeconomic Advisers (later acquired by IHS Markit) a year prior to receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in April 1998. His research there focused tracing the effects of monetary policy shocks through various industrial sectors, employing BEA's input-output accounts and time-series econometric techniques. He is a member and previously served as president of the St. Louis Gateway Chapter of NABE.

View Profile

Joel Prakken, Ph.D.

A thought-leader on US economic outlook, monetary policy forecasts and fixed income markets with over 30 years of experience and expertise as a macroeconomic modeler, Dr. Prakken has developed an unmatched structural-econometric model of the US economy. He co-founded Macroeconomic Advisers which was acquired by IHS Markit in 2017. Prior to founding Macroeconomic Advisers, Dr. Prakken held the position of senior economist at the World Headquarters of the IBM Corporation and before that he served with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, US. He also has held positions on the faculties of New York University's Graduate School of Business, the Economics Department of Washington University, and the Olin School of Business at Washington University. He is the past president and a fellow of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). He is also past president of the Gateway Association of Business Economists in Saint Louis. Dr. Prakken has many publications to his credit, including papers written for the Council of Economic Advisers, the American Council for Capital Formation, and the Center for the American Study of Business on topics ranging from tax reform to budget policy to monetary policy to the impact of technology on productivity. He has testified on these topics before committees in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate. Dr. Prakken has participated in meetings of the Outside Consultants to Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is a past member of the Panel of Economic Consultants to the Congressional Budget Office and is a current member of the advisory committee of the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Dr. Prakken completed his undergraduate degree in economics at Princeton University, and holds an MA and Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in Saint Louis, United States.

View Profile

Follow Economics & Country Risk on Twitter

{"items" : [ {"name":"login","url":"","enabled":false,"desc":"Product Login for existing customers","alt":"Login","large":true,"mobdesc":"Login","mobmsg":"Product Login for existing customers"},{"name":"facts","url":"","enabled":false,"desc":"","alt":"","mobdesc":"PDF","mobmsg":""},{"name":"sales","override":"","number":"[num]","enabled":true,"desc":"Call Sales</br><strong>[num]</strong>","alt":"Call Sales</br>[num]","mobdesc":"Sales","mobmsg":"Call Sales: [num]"}, {"name":"chat","enabled":true,"desc":"Chat Now","mobdesc":"Chat","mobmsg":"Welcome! How can we help you today?"}, {"name":"share","enabled":true,"desc":"<strong>Share</strong>","mobdesc":"Share","options":[ {"name":"facebook","url":"","enabled":true},{"name":"twitter","url":"","enabled":true},{"name":"linkedin","url":"","enabled":true},{"name":"email","url":"?subject=Section 232 Implications on Steel and Aluminum | IHS Markit&","enabled":true},{"name":"whatsapp","url":"","enabled":true}]}, {"name":"rtt","enabled":true,"mobdesc":"Top"} ]}
Filter Sort