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Press Release - President Donald J. Trump will Protect American National Security from the Effects of Unfair Trade Practices

March 08, 2018

"A Nation that does not protect prosperity at home cannot protect its interests abroad."
- President Donald J. Trump

ECONOMIC SECURITY IS NATIONAL SECURITY: Protecting our steel and aluminum industries from unfair trade practices is important to our national security.

  • Profitable and viable domestic aluminum and steel industries are important to our national security so that the United States can meet demand for steel and aluminum for national defense and critical industries with domestic sources.
    • The United States is the world's largest importer of steel, importing nearly four times as much as it exports.
    • The United States imported five times as much primary aluminum as it produced in 2016.
    • Aluminum is used in a range of ground weapons and aircraft, including the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV), AH-64 Apache Helicopter, and the V-22 Osprey.
    • Steel is required for a range of aircraft carriers, amphibious force ships, submarines, tanks, and light armored vehicles.
  • The Department of Commerce's investigation found that the current level of aluminum and steel imports into the United States has the potential to threaten our national security.
  • Further closures of domestic steel and aluminum facilities could render the United States unable to produce enough steel and aluminum to meet national defense and critical industry needs in the event of a national emergency.

OVERCAPACITY AND UNFAIR TRADE HAS GUTTED CRITICAL INDUSTRIES: Unfair trade practices and industrial policies of other countries have harmed our steel and aluminum industries, posing a threat to our national security.

  • The American steel industry has been decimated during the past decades by steel imported into our country at lower prices than domestic manufacturers can sustain.
    • There is only one remaining U.S. producer of an important category of steel used in electrical transformers, a type of critical infrastructure and only one high volume producer of armor plate.
  • Global excess capacity fuels the importation of steel and aluminum into the United States.
    • Global excess steel capacity has reached 737 million metric tons.
    • In 2016, China's excess aluminum production alone totaled 3.9 million metric tons, more than four times that of U.S. production.
    • International efforts to address this problem have been insufficient.
  • American aluminum smelters have faced an onslaught of cheap aluminum being brought into the United States.
    • In 2016, imports accounted for 90 percent of total primary aluminum demand, up from 66 percent in 2012.
    • There is only one high-volume producer of the high-purity aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications.

JOB LOSSES FOR HARDWORKING AMERICANS: The decline of American steel and aluminum production has resulted in extensive job losses for hardworking Americans in industries critical to our national security and economic well-being.

  • Key sectors of the steel and aluminum industries have faced long-term downward trends in employment.
    • Employment in iron and steel mills and ferroalloy production has dropped by more than 54,000 since the beginning of 2000.
    • More than 40,000 jobs in alumina and aluminum production have been lost since the beginning of 2000.
  • Despite considerable growth in demand, six primary aluminum smelters have permanently shut down since 2012.
    • Modern primary aluminum production requires a trained, skilled workforce, which is disrupted when smelting facilities shut down.
  • The loss of skilled steel and aluminum workers threatens the competitiveness of the industry and would be problematic in the event of a major production surge or mobilization.

FOLLOWING THROUGH TO PROTECT OUR NATIONAL SECURITY: The President has long made clear that he will stand up against unfair trade practices and is following through to address the threat they pose to our national security.

  • The President has repeatedly stated that protecting national security is his top priority and that he supports free trade but that it must also be fair.
  • In the past, President Trump's Administration has consistently taken action to combat unfair trade practices.
    • This January, President Trump approved safeguard tariffs on imported large residential washing machines and solar cells.
    • In 2017, President Trump's Administration conducted 82 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations.
    • The U.S. Trade Representative launched an investigation into allegations of Chinese forced technology transfers, unfair licensing practices, and intellectual property theft.

Donald J. Trump, Press Release - President Donald J. Trump will Protect American National Security from the Effects of Unfair Trade Practices Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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