American importers of metals from Canada and Mexico gain relief from tariffs

TIMES HAVE been tough for Riverdale Mills Corporation, a company based in Northbridge, Massachusetts. In June last year the Trump administration imposed tariffs of 25% on steel imported from Canada, which accounted for half the firm’s supply. As its business involves transforming steel rods to supply 85% of North America’s lobster traps, and 31 miles (50km) of security fencing along America’s border, its costs soared. “We were very, very disappointed,” said James Knott, its chief executive.

Disappointment has given way to delight. On May 19th President Donald Trump declared that steel and aluminium from Mexico and Canada no longer posed a threat to America’s national security, and the next day the tariffs were no more. “This is just pure good news for Canadians,” said Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister.

It was also excellent news for American consumers of steel. Faced with a lack of steel of similar quality from American suppliers nearby, and the expense of shipping from those farther away, Mr Knott had stuck with his Canadian suppliers, which hit profits and forced him to trim his workforce. Although he kept prices steady for his core products, some customers decamped anyway, worried that price rises were coming.

The tariff cuts will relieve strain for metal importers immediately. But the effect on the...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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