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KEI Spotlight

KEI President reaction to President Donald Trump’s action on steel and aluminum tariffs

March 8, 2018

Reaction from KEI President and former Congressman Donald A. Manzullo regarding President Donald Trump’s action on steel and aluminum tariffs

March 8, 2018 | Washington, DC


Earlier today, President Donald Trump met with workers from the U.S. steel and aluminum industry to issue his plan to enact higher tariffs on steel and aluminum.  Last year, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to use its authority under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to conduct an investigation into national security implications of U.S. steel and aluminum imports. Last month, the Commerce Department publicly released the results of its study and recommendations.  The President decided to impose tariffs of 25 percent on all steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports, but temporarily exempting Canada and Mexico.

President Manzullo recently wrote an op-ed in The Hill on this issue. Please click here to read the piece.

Please find below some reactions from KEI President and former Congressman Donald Manzullo.

Please contact KEI Communications Director Jenna Gibson at for more information.


  • “South Korea should have been exempted from the beginning. Not only is Korea party to a free trade agreement with the United States and has grown to become America’s sixth largest trading partner, but the ROK is a strong military ally of the United States as well. The Trump administration should quickly grant South Korea an exemption.”


  • South Korea has done everything that the U.S. and President Trump has asked over the years:
    • Contributes 2.7 percent of its GDP to its own defense;
    • Contributes 50 percent to the cost of stationing U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula;
    • Purchased 83 percent of its imported military hardware from the United States;
    • Supported every major U.S. military engagement since the end of the Korean War, including Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq, resulting in the loss of over 5,100 of its own service personnel;
    • Increased its importation of goods and services from the U.S. by 13 percent since 2016;
    • Drastically reduced the 2017 bilateral goods and services trade deficit with the U.S. by 41 percent;
    • Reduced the export of its steel products to the U.S. by 24 percent since 2014;
    • Increased its investments in the U.S. by $19 billion since 2011 and plans to implement 64 new projects in the U.S. by 2021 valued at $17.3 billion.
    • Provided increased employment for an additional18,600 American workers at U.S. subsidiaries of Korean owned firms since 2011;
    • Committed to purchasing $57.5 billion worth of additional U.S. products in the coming years.


  • “Unfortunately, the administration did not take the advice of the Defense Department to adopt trade actions that would get to the heart of the problem – overproduction of steel by China – and avoid any collateral damage on America’s key allies, including South Korea.”


  •  “Even under the broader definition of national securityas outlined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, South Korea is definitely a true friend and ally of the United States, not just in defense matters but also in economics relations because Korea has and will continue to expand manufacturing and employment opportunities for Americans in the United States.”