This Morning in Metals: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Makes Case for Steel Quotas on Canada, Mexico

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This morning in metals news, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is looking to convince President Trump to use quotas instead of standard tariffs on Canada and Mexico, Chinese steel mills are holding off on iron ore restocking amid rising price, and an Italian aluminum plant will be coming back online soon.

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Metals Tariffs Remain USMCA Sticking Point

The leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico last year signed the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) — meant to serve as the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NATFA) — during the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.

The signing came approximately 15 months after the formal commencement of talks among the three countries, geared toward revamping and modernizing the 1994 NAFTA.

However, the countries’ legislature still need to ratify the deal if it is to go into effect. While the leaders signed off on the deal, the U.S. maintained its Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum vis-a-vis imports from Canada and Mexico.

The fate of the tariffs remains a critical point if the deal is going to be nudged across the finish line.

Aa reported by Reuters, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is looking to convince the president that simple quotas are the way to go with respect to steel imports from Canada and Mexico.

Shopping Around

Per another Reuters report, rising iron ore prices have Chinese steel mills holding off on procuring supply.

As noted in the report, iron ore prices surged in February, in part a result of a dam breach disrupting supply from Brazilian miner Vale SA.

Italian Aluminum Plant to Restart

An Italian aluminum plant will be getting back to business in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts.

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According to the report, Swiss company Sider Alloys will restart Alcoa’s former Portovesme aluminum smelter next year.

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