The biggest threat to U.S. national security, Daniel Griswold writes, is not steel imports, but new steel protectionism.
The other 97 percent of domestic steel production is consumed by a broad swath of U.S. industry, including construction, and such manufacturing sectors as automobiles, machinery & equipment, energy, and appliances.
If the Trump administration imposes new barriers to imported steel, it will drive up the domestic price of steel, imposing higher production costs on those other sectors of the economy and making their products less competitive in global markets. Economists estimate that for every U.S. worker in the steel industry, there are 60 workers in steel-consuming industries whose jobs will be made less secure by any new steel tariffs. Those tariffs will weaken, not strengthen, America's industrial base.