Hundreds of companies received waivers from Trump steel tariffs: analysis

Hundreds of companies have been granted waivers to import millions of tons of foreign steel that would otherwise have been hit by the Trump administration's steel and aluminum tariffs.

The Associated Press reports that as many as 371 companies have received waivers for importing steel from countries such as China and Japan without the normal tariff barriers, which the Trump administration imposed last year as part of an escalating trade war.

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Waivers for those companies mean that as much as 4.1 million tons of steel from foreign countries could be imported without facing the high 25 percent tariff the Commerce Department imposed on steel imports.

30 percent of the steel imported under the waivers so far has come from Japan, the AP found, while 8 percent has come from China.

A spokesman for the Commerce Department told the AP that exemptions for tariffs could be made if the steel “is not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality or should be excluded based upon specific national security considerations.”

The Trump administration and China are currently in the midst of complicated talks to end their months-long trade fight, tackling such issues as alleged intellectual property theft. Officials are set for another round of trade talks in Washington next week following meetings that concluded today in Beijing.

The two countries agreed to a truce last year on imposing new tariffs, though both sides warned that new restrictions could be passed if talks break down.