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Tariffs on Foreign Steel

President Bush imposed a tariff on foreign steel during his first mandate. Why? Who benefits? Who is hurt? What are the implications (future and present)?

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1. President Bush imposed a tariff on foreign steel during his first mandate? Why? Who benefits?

Interestingly, Bush, who campaigned as a free trade advocate, imposed protective steel tariffs of 30% on his first mandate.

Who benefits? Bush explained it this way: "This relief will help steelworkers, communities that depend upon steel, and the steel industry adjust without harming our economy."- President Bush (3/5/02). Specifically, it benefits the steel industry in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia; and some argue that President Bush benefited politically as the tariffs were part of the political strategy to get votes and seats in West Virginia.

Who is hurt?

a. The reputation of the United States is hurt when President Bush advocates for free trade (and expects other countries loyalties), but yet does not follow the international trade laws himself.

E.g. Facing sanctions from the WTO, the Bush administration quickly back-pedaled, and reversed the steel tariff regime." The Bush administration has decided to repeal most of its 20-month-old tariffs on imported steel to head off a trade war that would have included foreign retaliation against products exported from politically crucial states." - Washington Post (12/1/03) (

b. Manufacturing who buy steel

c. Perhaps the overall economy of U.S. - The sanctions by WTO could have harmed the economy; however, Bush lifted the tariffs before this happened; is considering other measures to protect the American steel industry, however (

d. International steel industry e.g., Japan.

2. What are the implications (future and present)?

White House advisors concluded the tariffs were causing more harm than ...

Solution Summary

This solution evaluates why President Bush imposed a tariff on foreign steel during his first mandate, and who benefited and/or who hurt. It also discusses the future and present implications.