AEM’s Slater: Trump Tariffs Won’t Help U.S. Manufacturers ‘Win’ Again

Dan Industry News Release, Trade

AEM worked to discourage President Trump from imposing heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports after the president said he intended to do just that this week.


AEM President
Dennis Slater

AEM is assessing the impact of Trump’s announcement last week that he would impose 25 percent import tariffs on steel and 10 percent import tariffs on aluminum.

“President Trump shouldn’t undercut his own goal of helping U.S. manufacturers ‘win’ again by imposing counterproductive tariffs on steel imports,” AEM President Dennis Slater said in a statement. “The president should reconsider his stated intention to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that will raise costs for equipment manufacturers in the United States and undermine our industry’s global competitiveness.”

“About 30 percent of equipment manufactured in the United States is eventually intended for export. Tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports will burden U.S. manufacturers with higher costs while our competitors in China, India and Mexico will get a free pass to use the cheapest input materials they can find,” Slater continued. “If President Trump wants to boost domestic steel production, the best way would be to invest in our infrastructure system, and focus on further streamlining regulations.”

The industry’s reaction was featured by multiple media outlets including the Wall Street JournalFinancial TimesNew York Daily News and additional trade media outlets.

A number of AEM members have already expressed concern that steel tariffs in particular would raise input costs since most heavy equipment is steel-intensive. Equipment manufacturing jobs are among the 6.5 million jobs supported by downstream industries that make use of steel as an input.

AEM is continuing to work to discourage the White House from imposing those tariffs, especially since the administration has not yet identified which — if any — industries may be exempted from the tariff. Canada is the leading foreign supplier of steel to the United States, followed by Brazil. Mexico is another leading provider.

The administration’s pending action comes after a Commerce Department report that had alleged that sourcing steel from abroad poses a national security threat.

Please reach out to AEM Senior Vice President Nick Yaksich ( or AEM Director of International and Regulatory Affairs Alex Russ ( for more information about this issue as it develops.