steel

The only high school in my hometown — Campbell, Ohio — was built on a hilltop just east of Youngstown.

Behind our football field, the earth sloped away, down to the Mahoning River valley where the Youngstown Sheet & Tube steel mills stretched out for miles.

Our school, our small town, the gritty air we breathed — they were inseparable from those blast furnaces.

For three generations of Campbell guys, seeking work at the mill was almost automatic. And smart: You were guaranteed great pay and union benefits.

The Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal plant in Kamaishi Japan.
Adrian Ma / Ideastream

Kamaishi, Japan, may be a long way from Cleveland, but both cities have a lot in common.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

The Trump administration made good on threats to impose tariffs on some of the nation's closest allies Thursday, announcing it will no longer exempt Canada, Mexico and the European Union from previously announced levies on steel and aluminum.

The announcement was made in Paris by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Midwest iron and steel industry leaders say they are disappointed by the Trump administration’s delay on a decision about which countries will face new import tariffs. President Trump has postponed until June a decision on which countries will be subject to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The decision had been due May 1.

The Trump administration has decided to hold off on imposing most of its tariffs on imported steel and aluminum until at least June 1.

Tariffs were scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday on imports from Canada, the largest U.S. supplier of steel and aluminum, as well as Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU.

A source familiar with the decision says the administration has reached an agreement in principle with Australia, Argentina and Brazil, which may avoid the need for tariffs against those countries altogether.

President Trump's tariffs on imported steel aren't the first time the industry has gotten protection from the U.S. government. Not by a long shot. In fact, tariff protection for the industry — which politicians often say is a vital national interest — goes back to the very beginning of the republic.

In his book, Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy, Dartmouth professor Douglas Irwin writes that protection for the metal producers began in the 1790s.

Brian Johnson and Dane Brian / Flickr

Ohio farmers are pushing back against the Trump administration after China made good on promises to respond to recent U.S. tariffs with tariffs of its own.

President Trump's decision to impose 25 percent tariff on foreign steel, and 10 percent on foreign aluminum was not a surprise for those who followed his campaign rhetoric. 

But Ohio State University economist Ned Hill was surprised by *how* the President announced the decision, without perhaps considering all of the repercussions. 

He says one of the benefits of free trade is forcing industries to become more competitive on the international market, which is ultimately what happened to the steel industry.

Whirlpool

Manufacturers who make products with steel and aluminum are expected to see their costs rise after the President's tariff goes into effect. But Whirlpool Corporation, which makes washing machines at a plant in Clyde, may come out clean. 

Sherrod Brown
Nick Castele / ideastream

Hours before President Trump is expected to unveil details about his proposed tariff on steel and aluminum imports, Ohio's U.S. Senators are expressing their reservations.

skeeze / Pixabay

Ohio manufacturers are giving mixed responses to tariffs that President Trump says he’ll place on imported steel and aluminum.

In a report released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross concluded that steel imports, particularly from China, have driven down the price of steel, which in turn has hurt U.S. steel manufacturers and “threaten[ed] to impair the national security." The report goes on to recommend that President Trump impose either tariffs or quotas on all imported steel.

President Trump is hinting that he may impose tariffs, quotas or both on imported steel in an effort to protect the domestic steel industry.

"Steel is a big problem," Trump told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One en route to Paris, where he landed Thursday. "We're like a dumping ground, OK? [Other countries are] dumping steel and destroying our steel industry. They've been doing it for decades and I'm stopping it."

"There are two ways," Trump said, "quotas and tariffs. Maybe I'll do both."

The announcement of a tentative settlement in a year-long lockout at A.K. Steel's Middletown mill sent the steelmaker's stock soaring, but some union workers' reactions were more reserved.

Some workers said they had mixed emotions or that they needed more information.

The company and the union declined to discuss terms of the proposal which, if ratified, would end the nation's longest current major work stoppage.