NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Steel Tariffs Blindsided Small Manufacturers

July 24, 2002

Tariffs imposed in March on imported steel have resulted in shortages and higher prices for manufacturers who depend on steel for their products. The burden has fallen especially heavily on small companies -- some of which fear they will face bankruptcy if they get no relief.

  • The manufacturers are trying to gain exemptions so more steel can come into the U.S. tariff-free -- while steel-makers want the tariffs maintained.
  • While the tariffs were pegged as high as 30 percent, steel users have seen their costs rise 50 percent or more.
  • By May, U.S. steel imports had fallen 20 percent from a year before.
  • Supply shortages are also being blamed on the shutdown of four U.S. steel producers that accounted for more than 10 percent of supplies in 2001.

Manufacturers feeling the crunch make goods that go into everything from cars to ovens to batteries.

Source: Barbara Hagenbaugh, "Steel Tariffs Catch Some in the Middle," USA Today, July 24, 2002.


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