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Pennsylvania lawmakers praise Biden administration’s tariffs on Chinese steel, aluminum via Mexico • Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Pennsylvania lawmakers on Wednesday praised the Biden administration’s announcement of a new joint U.S.-Mexico effort to prevent China and other countries from evading tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

“Chinese steel and aluminum entering the U.S. market through Mexico is evading tariffs, undermining our investments and hurting American workers in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio,” Lael Brainard, director of the White House National Economic Council, said in a call with reporters.

Brainard said tariffs would be levied under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which covers imports deemed a threat to U.S. national security. Steel and aluminum not smelted or cast in Mexico would be subject to tariffs of 25% and 10%, respectively.

The U.S. imported 3.8 million metric tons of steel from Mexico last year, 13% of which was cast or smelted elsewhere, according to Biden administration officials. Of the 105,000 metric tons of aluminum the U.S. imported from Mexico last year, 94% was smelted or cast in the U.S., Canada or Mexico, and the remaining 6% was cast in four countries: China, Russia, Belarus and Iran, administration officials said.

“Western Pennsylvania and our people made the steel that built America, but bad trade policies have tried to strip our region of parts and move solid union jobs overseas,” U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-17th District) said in a statement Wednesday. “President Biden’s announcement today focuses on Communist China’s exploitation of loopholes that allowed foreign steel and aluminum to enter the country through Mexico, undermining our workers and industries here at home.”

During an April campaign stop in Pittsburgh, President Joe Biden called for nearly tripling the 7.5% tariff on Chinese steel and aluminum imports and said his administration would put new pressure on Mexico to prevent China from shipping metals to the U.S. through its ports. Also in April, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai launched an investigation into China’s shipbuilding industry.

“The Chinese government has been pouring government money into Chinese steel companies for too long,” Biden said in Pittsburgh. “They’re not competing, they’re cheating.”

U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) were among a group of seven Democratic senators who urged the Biden administration to “maintain or increase tariffs to address China’s continued actions to defraud and undermine our national security.” On Wednesday, Casey called Wednesday’s announcement “a victory for Pennsylvania workers and our nation’s steel industry.”

The tariffs went into effect on Wednesday.

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