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Biden Targets Mexico in Chinese Steel Crackdown

Daniel Kim Views  

The Biden administration has imposed high tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products imported through Mexico. This follows a decision to more than triple tariffs on Chinese steel, essentially blocking the “transshipment” of Chinese products. Analysts suggest this move is a strategic play to win over voters in the Rust Belt, a region with a robust steel union presence, ahead of the November elections.

According to the New York Times (NYT), the Biden administration announced plans to impose tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imported through Mexico. The measure targets China’s practice of selling its steel to Mexico, then re-exports it to the U.S. tariff-free. The Biden administration cited Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which allows for import restrictions on certain goods that could threaten national security, as the basis for this action.

The Biden administration stated that it would only exempt steel imported from Mexico produced in North America (U.S., Mexico, Canada) from the tariffs while imposing a 25% tariff on the rest. It also plans to impose a 10% tariff on Mexican aluminum, primarily refined in countries other than the U.S., such as China, Iran, and Russia. To verify the origin of steel and aluminum products, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to thoroughly check the origin in cooperation with the Mexican government.

White House National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard stated, “Chinese steel and aluminum entering the U.S. market through Mexico is harming American workers in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Steel and aluminum will remain central to our economy in the future.”

According to the U.S. government, about 3.8 million tons of steel was imported into the U.S. via Mexico last year. Approximately 13% was manufactured outside of North America. About 105,000 tons of aluminum was imported from Mexico last year, with nearly 6% being refined and the casting process being done outside of Mexico.

Earlier in May, the Biden administration tripled the tariffs on Chinese steel directly imported into the U.S. and announced plans to raise tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles to 100%. The U.S. plans to continuously enhance monitoring of all steel imported from not only China but also Mexico. As South Korea exports some steel products to the U.S. through Mexico, these measures may also affect it.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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