News Releases

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Isakson: Administration's New Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Will Hurt Georgia

Tariffs a new tax with lasting consequences for American consumers, workers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., reiterated his concerns today as the president issued a proclamation imposing new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.

The proclamation signed today imposes a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, with temporary exemptions for imports from Canada and Mexico during the ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Isakson voiced opposition on tariffs on steel and aluminum when they were proposed by the administration on March 1.

“Ultimately, trade wars do not solve the problems they are intended to address, but inevitably create more trouble,” said Isakson. “This new tax on American consumers will have lasting consequences and will impede the pro-growth agenda we have pursued. While there are some exemptions from the tariffs, the administration must go further to exempt additional key U.S. allies as well as inputs relied on by Georgia manufacturers. I will continue working to find a targeted path forward that addresses unfair trade policies with a narrow approach that does not harm American workers and consumers.”

In Georgia alone, manufacturing and trade industries account for $54.46 billion in economic output. Many of Georgia’s leading manufacturers depend on access to aluminum and steel products, and there is not sufficient domestic supply for these materials to meet the needs of Georgia manufacturers. Over the last decade, international trade in Georgia has grown by 53 percent, making Georgia eighth in the United States for trade. Additionally, Georgia farmers, apparel manufacturers, and other producers who depend on access to overseas markets will now face the threat of retaliatory tariffs or trade barriers from other countries.

Isakson has sent a number of letters to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in support of the U.S. steel industry and U.S. manufacturers, arguing that import restrictions would negatively affect the industry and its employees.

In June, Isakson wrote to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis highlighting the need to protect consumers and Georgia jobs by tailoring an ongoing investigation into aluminum trade practices so that it does not unfairly target products that are not a threat to national security.