WASHINGTON, DC — The Bush administration is considering aiding the struggling U.S. steel industry by applying tariffs. But those tariffs likely would be less than those requested by the industry, and some countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and developing nations, would be exempted.

To meet an International Trade Commission deadline, President Bush must make a decision this week on whether and how to apply steel tariffs. Some major U.S. steel companies and steel workers have been urging 40% tariffs across the board. The administration wants to help the American steel industry, but avoid negatively impacting other industries — and the economy — with sharply higher steel prices.

Democrats and Republicans are divided over the issue, depending on whether they come from steel making states or are strong free-trade advocates. Tariffs are also likely to raise protests from U.S. allies, especially in Europe.

Publication date: 03/04/2002