NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Steel Tariffs Cost Jobs

August 13, 2003

President Bush meets with his economic team at the Crawford ranch today to discuss how to help the economy create more jobs. The Wall Street Journal suggests repealing his own 30 percent steel tariffs.

Designed to help only a single industry, the tariffs have instead punished the far more numerous industries that use steel. Repealing the steel tariffs would have instant benefits, says the Journal:

  • In the wake of the tariffs, domestic steel prices have risen by 30 percent or more while the price of hot-rolled steel, a major industrial commodity, nearly doubled from late 2001 to July 2002.
  • Shortages in specific products abound, as foreign steel makers have sent their steel to suppliers in other countries; meanwhile, many steel consumers have struggled to find reliable, quality product at prices that keep them competitive with foreign manufacturers.
  • A study done this year for the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) found higher steel prices cost some 200,000 American jobs and $4 billion in lost wages from last February to November.
  • That compares to employment in the entire domestic steel industry of only 188,000.

No fewer than 16 states lost at least 4,500 steel consuming jobs, including the key Presidential election states of Pennsylvania and Florida that each lost nearly twice that number.

Source: Editorial, "Steel of the Century," Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2003.

For text (WSJ subscription required),,SB106073854084613300,00.html


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