AEM recently sat down with Secretary Wilbur Ross at the U.S. Department of Commerce to discuss the steel and aluminum tariffs, ongoing issues with the tariff product exclusion process and Commerce’s investigation on autos and auto parts.

AEM Chair Rich Goldsbury highlighted the challenges companies are facing with both the tariffs and Commerce’s steel product exclusion process. Building upon those concerns, AEM President Slater discussed how the tariffs on steel and China are driving up production costs while counter-tariffs placed on U.S. agriculture are hurting the rural economy.

“Harmful tariffs are putting equipment manufacturers and those in the industries they serve at a competitive disadvantage,” said Slater. “Agricultural producers are losing market access, which is further driving down farm incomes. The administration should instead focus on polices that create jobs in rural America and benefit our economy as a whole.”

Commerce is currently investigating whether the importation of autos and auto parts is a national security threat. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, President Trump may decide to place additional tariffs on these products. At issue is that many parts used in equipment manufacturing share HTS codes with the auto industry.

Secretary Ross during a Senate Finance hearing stated that “[the] intention is to deal with automotive parts, not to deal with parts throughout the economy; I can assure you of that.”

AEM created a detailed proposal on how Secretary Ross can achieve his objective and avoid incorporating equipment manufacturers’ parts in the auto investigation. The Secretary thanked AEM for taking the time to meet, providing the proposal and offered to continue the dialogue with our industry.

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