NEMA Urges Restraint on Tariffs

Fearing negative effects on the U.S. electroindustry, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) issued a statement in March warning of the potential effects  from import tariffs on steel and aluminum. President and CEO Kevin Cosgriff said the new import tariffs on steel and aluminum will create unwelcome challenges for many electrical manufacturers, particularly related to certain types of electrical steel not made in the U.S. and the overly broad restrictions on imported aluminum.

“Our industry uses steel and aluminum from domestic and overseas sources in their manufacturing processes,“ says Cosgriff. “The president’s decision to impose import taxes on fairly-traded steel and aluminum will not help our manufacturers’ costs or aid them in being more competitive in the global economy. We believe the opposite to be the case.”

The President’s proclamation imposes a global 25 percent tariff on certain steel imports and 10 percent tariff on certain aluminum imports. The President’s decision came at the close of separate 11-month processes conducted under the authority of Section 232 of Trade Expansion Act of 1962, regarding national security implications of steel and aluminum imports. NEMA joined with other industry associations to raise specific concerns about the Commerce Department recommendations and findings, which were transmitted to the White House in January and released to the public on February 16.

Regarding steel, NEMA sought to exclude identified steels from the scope of import restrictions, citing lack of domestic supply used in various electrical products like motors, transformers and batteries. Regarding aluminum, NEMA called for targeted action aimed at addressing over-capacity production in China and not to target fairly-traded aluminum from other countries.