I just cannot understand how politicians can be called "populist" for favoring a few hundred thousand domestic steel workers and steel company equity holders over 300 million domestic consumers who depend on low-cost steel for their jobs or buy steel products. But there seems to be something about the steel industry that causes folks who normally would scream about corporate welfare to just roll over.
At noon, Donald Trump will sign an executive order calling for a probe whether imports of foreign-made steel are hurting U.S. national security. The order will revive a decades-old, rarely used law to explore imposing new barriers on steel imports, in this case aimed loosely at China.
Trump will sign the memorandum related to section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 at an event in the White House that will include leadersd of several U.S. steel companies; the law will allow the president to impose restrictions on imports for reasons of national security. Trump’s directive will ask Ross to conduct the probe “with all deliberate speed and deliver the results to the president with his recommendations."
An official cited by Reuters sad that there are national security implications from imports of steel alloys that are used in products such as the armor plating of ships and require a lot of expertise to create and produce.
Why do I suspect the national defense argument is a total sham?
Update: “For every steelworker, there are 60 workers in steel-using industries,” said Lewis Leibowitz, a Washington attorney who has worked on trade cases involving steel in the past. “You need competitive steel prices for those industries to be competitive and to export.” source: WSJ