United States President Donald Trump’s decision to impose curbs on steel imports will not have any immediate impact on India, Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma said on Friday. The US on Thursday announced that from next week it will levy 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on imported aluminium.
The United States cited Section 232(b) of its Trade Expansion Act, 1962, to levy such hefty tariffs to protect American producers of steel. This section of the law gives the US Commerce Secretary the right to investigate whether certain imports pose a threat to national security.
“We have only 2% exports to the US, so no immediate dent, but validity of Section 232 is stretched to be used as tariff barrier,” Reuters quoted Sharma as saying.
Stock markets around the world, meanwhile, saw shares decline on Friday in reaction to the US decision. The Nikkei 225 index in Japan closed 2.56% down, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 1.51%. The Kopsi index in South Korea declined 1.05%. On Thursday, the American indices Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq saw shares decline. The Indian benchmark indices were shut on Friday on account of Holi.
“We must protect our country and our workers,” the US president tweeted on Friday. “Our steel industry is in bad shape. If you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country.”
The president had earlier said that trade wars are “good and easy to win” since the United States was already losing “billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country”.
China, whose steel manufacturers will be affected as a result of the US decision, criticised Trump’s move, PTI reported. “If countries around the world follow US measures it will harm the world trade,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters.
She urged the US to follow multilateral trade rules, pointing out that the global economy is still unstable and was slowly recovering. “All countries should make concerted efforts and cooperate to resolve relevant issues instead of taking measures unilaterally,” Hua added.