This Morning in Metals: India Asks for Exemption from U.S.’s Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

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This morning in metals news, India wants to get a waiver from the U.S.’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, uncertainty for craft beverage makers, and the U.S. Trade Representative said he is hopeful a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal can be reached soon.

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Another Country Wants Out of 232 Tariffs

Count India among the group of countries looking to be exempted from the U.S.’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum.

According to Reuters, Indian government officials are saying that Indian exports of steel and aluminum to the U.S. do not post a national security threat. Steel exports to the U.S. amount to 2% of India’s total steel exports, according to the report.

Craft Beer Makers Wary of Tariffs’ Effect

For craft beer makers, the new tariff on aluminum means either smaller margins or passing extra costs on to consumers.

According to a Vermont Public Radio report quoting several executives in the local craft beer industry, the tariff adds uncertainty, especially for distributors who have already seen increases this year in canning costs.

Justin Heilenbach, president and co-founder of Citizen Cider, referred to the tariffs’ impact relative to the federal tax plan passed in December.

“This whole thing is like robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Heilenbach said, “because, you know, we get a tax incentive over here, and then we pay more for materials over there. … It’s gonna net out neutral or probably be, you know, work against us.”

Lighthizer Hopeful for New NAFTA

In a television interview with CNBC on Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he is hopeful the U.S. can renegotiate a new NAFTA “in the next little bit,” Bloomberg reported.

Earlier this week, a deal was reached on an adjusted deal on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), which also saw South Korea receive exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs (in addition to a 70% quota).

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According to the report, Lighthizer also raised concerns brought up during the negotiations last year regarding the timeline for reaching a deal, given that there is a Mexican presidential election in July and U.S. midterm elections in November.

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