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Opinion: Now is the time to remove business-killing tariffs

It’s been well reported that New Jersey’s consumers and businesses continue to struggle with supply chain disruptions and historic inflation, causing job loss in many manufacturing sectors.

A major culprit is the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, imposed by President Donald Trump in 2018. They continue to harm the state’s economy, negatively affecting New Jersey consumers and businesses alike. Now is the time to remove these business-killing tariffs, particularly on aluminum imports, to create a sustainable supply for New Jersey.

These tariffs were supposed to benefit U.S. producers, but ultimately raised material costs for manufacturers and consumers. The tariffs, coupled with a shaky, pandemic-fueled supply chain, have so far caused aluminum prices to skyrocket from $1,600 to $2,800 a ton, to date.

Meanwhile, the demand for aluminum keeps increasing, especially as New Jersey is poised to undertake billions in infrastructure projects under the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure plan.

The tariffs have proven to be an serious impediment to trade. Removing them would benefit our manufacturers’ access to overseas markets, ultimately stimulating New Jersey’s business sector.

To put an end to the Section 232 tariffs and reform the process for the implementation of future tariffs, Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) introduced new bipartisan legislation in October 2021. The bill requires presidentially-proposed tariffs for national security purposes to be subject to review and approval by Congress before going into effect.

Such a law would help combat increased costs for consumers as well as manufacturers, and strengthen our trade relationships as New Jersey continues to rebuild.

Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-18)

Vice Chair, Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee


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