Trump imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imported from most of the world including our closest trading partners Mexico and Canada, but the Trump regime has launched another trade "investigation" that will undoubtedly reach a predetermined outcome.
The Department of Commerce has launched an anti-dumping probe of foreign metal products -- rather than raw metal -- with a goal of justifying duties on metal products.
The fabricated structural steel under investigation is used major building projects, including commercial, office and residential buildings, arenas, convention centers, parking decks and ports.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday the new anti-dumping and countervailing duty probe is based on a petition filed earlier this month by a U.S. steel trade group. The department is investigating whether to seek duties of about 30 percent for Canada and Mexico and 222 percent for China in response to below-market price imports. [...]
In 2017, imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, China, and Mexico were valued at an estimated $658.3 million, $841.7 million, and $406.6 million, respectively.
I necessarily assume the Commerce Department will come up with some vague reason for imposing duties on foreign metal products because all of the department's investigations have resulted in action from the White House. The department has never explicitly spelled out how foreign metal, solar panels, or other foreign goods pose a risk to "national security," but here we are.
The Trump regime taking this action based on a request from metal industry lobbyists should not come as a surprise because that's what led to Trump's initial tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.
Call it quid pro quo if you want to. Metal industry executives and lobbyists and the predominately white labor unions that represent metal workers supported Trump in 2016 and he clearly believes he owes them special gifts in return even if it harms other industries that did not support him to the same degree. But Trump's actions have not benefited metal workers as much as they have benefited the executives, lobbyists, and speculators who pocket more money from Trump's actions without actually producing anything of value themselves.