Trump: Big Steel & Aluminum Tariffs Are Coming

Trump: Big Steel & Aluminum Tariffs Are Coming

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President Donald Trump says big tariffs are coming and that would come as welcome news to communities like Massena.

Trump says he'll sign an executive order next week to impose steel tariffs of 25 percent, and aluminum tariffs of 10 percent.

Major details of the plan are unclear — such as whether this will apply to Canada. Canada is the number 1 seller of both steel and aluminum to the U.S., with an integrated auto industry and military-industrial base.

The White House had a vigorous behind-the-scenes back-and-forth over whether Trump should say anything Thursday. The president was reportedly determined to announce tariffs, then his staff denied an announcement was coming, and now he's made a statement to the press about it.

One company that could benefit from import tariffs is Alcoa, which operates an aluminum smelting plant in Massena, where the company employs around 500 workers. It's one of the north country's largest employers.

Alcoa has issued a statement saying it wants Canadian aluminum exempt from any action taken. It says that's because Canadian aluminum is essential to the U.S supply chain. Instead, it wants the Trump administration to focus its efforts on China.

Last month, the Commerce Department said aluminum and steel imports threaten national security.

Alcoa's Massena East aluminum smelter shut down in 2014. Alcoa's Massena West is one of only five active aluminum smelters left in the U.S. Only about 10 percent of the aluminum used in the U.S. is made there.

“People are starting to realize we'd really be in trouble if we don't have aluminum - if we ever had to go to war or anything like that,” said Mark Goodfellow, president of United Steelworkers Local 420, last month.

Stepped-up production of steel and aluminum, especially by China, has driven down prices and hurt American producers.

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