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Japanese steel applauds potential 232 retaliation

May 17, 2018 | 12:49 PM | New York | Thorsten Schier

The Japan Steel Information Center (JSIC) has applauded news that the country is considering retaliatory action against the United States' Section 232 tariffs via the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Our industry and our government has tried to persuade the US by reminding them that we are friends, and it has not worked," JSIC chairman Jiro Hirokawa said in a statement on Thursday May 17. "The 25%, across-the-board tariff on foreign steel has always been ill-advised and naive. Rather than saving American jobs, it will destroy many tens of thousands of good, well-paying manufacturing jobs from steel consuming industries.

Hirokawa pointed out that another key US ally, the European Union, is preparing to retaliate against the tariffs, while China has already taken such action. "Retaliation from America’s most reliable allies has been predictable, and it will ultimately hurt American non-manufacturing industries as well,” he said.

The JSIC maintains that Japanese steel should not be hit by tariffs based on national security concerns. “Japanese steel has never been a threat to American national security. Our world-class products are high-value-added material that cannot be easily replicated by the domestic steel industry," said Hirokawa, adding that he hoped the retaliatory action at the WTO would lead to an "early, successful settlement."

The tariffs have pushed up domestic steel prices. American Metal Market's benchmark hot-rolled coil index has risen to $43.96 per hundredweight, up nearly 42% year over year.