Steel tariffs could hurt U.S. automakers
Trump seeks to end dumping, but prices for autos likely would rise
Tariffs might help U.S. steel companies, but a crackdown on imports by President Donald Trump could hurt U.S. automakers and other industries — and raise prices for buyers of their goods.
The Trump administration is considering tariffs on steel imports in an effort to squeeze China and other countries that Trump says are destroying the U.S. steel industry. No action has been taken, but auto industry analysts and trade experts say the threats already have created uncertainty in the market.
Even though U.S. automakers build vehicles primarily from U.S.-sourced steel, economists say a protective tax on imported steel would give makers of domestic steel the incentive to raise their prices — just because they could. That would be a boon for the domestic steel industry, but it would make U.S.-made cars more expensive and push consumers to buy cheaper cars from foreign companies unaffected by the tariff, economists say.
“Prices will go up and people will buy less,” said Alan Deardorff, professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. “It’s ironic that in discouraging imports of steel, he may encourage the imports of cars.”
The latest discussions over trade — and steel in particular — arose after transcripts of a Wednesday media session held by Trump on Air Force One were published. In a question-and-answer session, the president described the influx of cheap foreign steel as “a big problem.”
“They’re dumping steel and destroying our steel industry; they’ve been doing it for decades, and I’m stopping it,” Trump told reporters. “It’ll stop ...
“There are two ways — quotas