President Donald Trump announced Thursday (March 1) that he will impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum as early as next week. As reported by CNBC, the U.S. will set tariffs of 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum. The president said it will apply the tariffs broadly, without targeting specific countries, and not impose quotas.
Responding to the mandate, which would negatively impact RV suppliers and manufacturers, Jay Landers, vice president of government affairs for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), told RVBUSINESS.com that the organization vowed non-stop efforts to reverse Trump’s decision to impose the tariffs.
“It’s a tricky thing right now because when the president uses the ‘National Security Interests’ justification, he takes Congress out of the picture,” Landers said. “We’ve met with members of Congress on this and the U.S. Commerce Department, but it’s an uphill battle. He just made a decision on his own, so there’s not a lot we could do, but we will continue.
“We participated in a call with a special group that is talking about tariffs and the group of experts working with them, and we’re working through coalitions here in D.C., such as the automobile industry and all those beverage companies who use aluminum cans. It caught everybody by surprise, so we’re all just sifting through the wreckage at this point.”
Among the members of Congress voicing their displeasure at Trump’s decision was U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, (R-Ind.), who said today’s announcement “threatens to undo the positive effects of these pro-growth policies by raising costs for American manufacturers, including many in Indiana’s 2nd District. China’s unfair trade practices are a serious problem, but I’m disappointed the president does not appear to be pursuing a more balanced solution. I urge him to work closely with Congress to minimize the harmful impact these tariffs will have on American businesses, workers, and consumers.”
In addition, RVIA issued the following statement:
“Yesterday, in a somewhat spontaneous manner, President Trump announced he will approve new tariffs on steel and aluminum next week. Trump has said these new tariffs are necessary to help the U.S. steel and aluminum industries recover from years of unfair trade practices. According to the New York Times, it is unclear whether these tariffs would apply to all imports or be targeted to specific countries, like China, who have been flooding the U.S. with cheap metals.
The tariffs are a result of a “232 investigation,” which focuses on whether certain imports compromise the U.S. national security by degrading the industrial base. In February, the United States Department of Commerce released a report concluding that the imports of steel and aluminum were a national security threat. Once that conclusion has been reached, the law allows the resident wide latitude to impose tariffs and other potential barriers to trade such as quotas.
These new tariffs will negatively affect the RV industry and its many supplier companies that use steel and aluminum, even those who source their steel and aluminum from domestic producers. With these new tariffs, the cost of imports will significantly rise, but it is also expected that the price of domestic steel and aluminum will increase.
RVIA staff have been involved in many meetings on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Commerce on this issue and will continue to advocate on the behalf of the industry. Once the tariffs are formally signed, we RVIA will offer an update on the specific provisions.”