Commerce Secretary Nominee Wilbur Ross Hints At China Tariff

Ross and Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer. [Office of Sen. Fischer / Wikipedia]
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At Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross’ confirmation hearing Wednesday, unfair trade practices by China played a prominent role. Cracking down on those practices could give a boost to steel producers in Northeast Ohio and Ross echoed President-elect Donald Trump’s hardline campaign stance on China. 

If confirmed, Ross will play a central role on international trade policy and promotion. When asked how he would respond to the practice of selling excess foreign steel in the U.S. at below-market prices, a practice known as dumping, Ross indicated that retaliatory tariffs may be coming.

“And so I think where we do need very careful attention to more tariff activity is the anti-dumping requirements that we should impose on the steel industry and the aluminum industry as well," said Ross.

He described China as the biggest practitioner of dumping and said the Dept. of Commerce will aggressively investigate that country’s trade practices. President-elect Donald Trump threatened a 45% tariff on Chinese imports during the campaign.

Ross received bipartisan support during his hearing at the Senate commerce committee. Senators applauded the billionaire investor for agreeing this week to divest or step away from almost all his businesses. He agreed to leave the board of Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steelmaker and owner of the plant in Downtown Cleveland.

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