Joe Biden

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Protect U.S. Steel and Shipbuilding Industry from China's Unfair Practices

April 17, 2024

Call to triple the tariff rate on steel and aluminum imports from China

United States Trade Representative to investigate China's unfair shipbuilding practices

President Biden knows that steel is the backbone of the American economy, and a bedrock of our national security. American steel fueled the country's industrialization and helped build the middle class. American-made steel remains critical for our economic and national security. American companies must lead the future of more sustainable steel. This green steel will fortify the infrastructure that supports our communities, form the ocean vessels that transport American goods, power the electric vehicles of our clean-energy future, and support thousands of hardworking American families.

President Biden is making historic investments in American steel and manufacturing that are a sharp contrast with the previous Administration. While the previous Administration failed to deliver an infrastructure bill, President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act are spurring hundreds of billions of dollars in private-sector manufacturing and clean energy investments. Under President Biden, investments in construction of new factories have more than doubled—after falling under the previous Administration even before the pandemic—while nearly 800,000 manufacturing jobs have been created and construction employment is at a record high. Our trade deficit with China is the lowest it's been in over a decade—lower than any year under the previous Administration. President Biden's strategic trade and investment agenda protects workers, consumers, and businesses from unfair competition.

At the same time, American workers in the steel and aluminum industries face a significant challenge from Chinese exports of steel and aluminum which are among the most emissions-intensive products in the world. China's overcapacity and non-market investments in the steel and aluminum industries mean high-quality U.S. products have to compete with artificially low-priced alternatives produced with higher carbon emissions.

Steel is a critical input for our domestic shipbuilding industry—from the commercial shipping vessels that carry American products, to the U.S. naval vessels that keep global seas safe. Commercial shipyards provide industrial capacity for maintaining the U.S. Navy's dominance and support thousands of suppliers and jobs.

The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes growing concerns that unfair Chinese trade practices, including flooding the market with below-market-cost steel, are distorting the global shipbuilding market and eroding competition. These concerns were outlined in a petition to the U.S. Trade Representative from five labor unions requesting an investigation into Chinese acts, policies, and practices in the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors.

In response to China's unfair practices, today the Biden-Harris Administration is taking new, historic actions to support American steel manufacturing and shipbuilding.

  • President Biden is calling on the USTR to consider tripling the existing 301 tariff rate on Chinese steel and aluminum. The current average tariff on certain steel and aluminum products is 7.5% under Section 301. American workers continue to face unfair competition from Chinese imports of steel and aluminum products, which are among the world's most emissions-intensive. Chinese policies and subsidies for their domestic steel and aluminum industries means high-quality U.S. products are undercut by artificially low-priced Chinese alternatives produced with higher emissions. To the extent consistent with the United States Trade Representative's (USTR) review of Section 301 tariffs and findings of her investigation, President Biden is calling for USTR to consider enhancing the effectiveness of tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products by tripling them.
  • President Biden's Department of Commerce is taking action against countries and importers that do not play by the rules and flood the market with cheap products. Since President Biden took office, the Department of Commerce has imposed over 30 anti-dumping and countervailing duties on steel-related products. These are tariffs on steel imports that are priced below the fair and competitive value. The Department of Commerce has also conducted nearly 27 investigations into anti-competitive actions by Chinese exporters and efforts by countries like China to evade trade rules.
  • President Biden is directing his senior team to work with Mexico to jointly prevent China's and other countries' evasion of tariffs on steel and aluminum that is imported from Mexico into the United States. This is a growing challenge that must be addressed to prevent Chinese and others' steel exports from gaining access to the U.S. market and evading Section 232 or Section 301 tariffs. President Biden recently sent senior members of his administration to Mexico to address this issue.
  • The United States Trade Representative is initiating an investigation into China's unfair trade practices in shipbuilding, maritime and logistics sectors. This investigation follows a petition filed by the United Steelworkers (USW) and four other unions who claim the Government of China's drive to dominate the global shipbuilding, maritime, and logistics sector is built on non-market policies that are far more aggressive and interventionist than any other country. President Biden believes it is critical to understand China's uniquely aggressive set of interventions in these sectors, and to take actions that address distortions to the global market for commercial vessels, maritime shipping, and logistics that harm American workers and shipbuilders.
  • President Biden is committed to maintaining strong American steel companies powered by American steel workers. In light of the proposed sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel, President Biden will continue to make clear that U.S. Steel has been an iconic American steel company for more than a century, and that it is vital for it to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated.
  • President Biden is investing in clean American-made steel. Today's announcements build on the Administration's commitments to green steel production. The Biden-Harris Administration, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, recently announced up to $1.5 billion for six clean iron and steel projects as part of a historic broader investment to lower emissions from energy-intensive industries. These projects are set to demonstrate innovative technologies that can eliminate the vast majority of emissions from steelmaking, and enable the industry to phase out more traditional carbon-intensive production methods. They will support the economic comeback of steel communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the South and Midwest, so the U.S. steel industry can remain competitive as the global leader in low-carbon iron and steel products.

    These investments include up to $75 million for the only high-silicon grain oriented electrical steel plant in the U.S. in Lyndora, Pennsylvania that is sustaining more than 1,000 United Autoworker jobs at the Cleveland-Cliffs Butler Works plant and up to $500 million for the Cleveland-Cliffs plant in Middletown, Ohio to produce clean steel for the auto supply chain.

Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Protect U.S. Steel and Shipbuilding Industry from China's Unfair Practices Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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