The U.S. States Most Reliant On Steel Imports [Infographic]


By Niall McCarthy,

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced it was imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports of 25 and 10 percent respectively, arguing they were justified on the grounds of national security and necessary to fight back against an "assault on our country" by foreign competitors. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to save the American steel and aluminum industries, which have been hurt by imports of cheaper products. While the move to impose tariffs fits in perfectly with his "America First" policy, there are growing fears about its consequences.

It has already caused serious friction within the Republican Party, where there are fears of a trade war, and some have questioned whether it will undermine decades of progress in international trade. One of the core questions is whether or not protectionism could impact U.S. economic growth, particularly at state level. While the tariffs may throw American steel and aluminum companies a lifeline in a market flooded by foreign competition, they have already had consequences such as the imposition of retaliatory tariffs on important American exports to other countries. Higher prices for steel and aluminum could also have a knock-on effect in U.S. states, impacting a huge range of important industries such as construction and auto manufacturing.

The following infographic was created using a Brookings Institute analysis of Census Bureau data and it shows the states most likely to be impacted by the new tariffs. Steel and aluminum accounted for the biggest share of total imports in Missouri and Louisiana last year at just over seven percent. Louisiana is especially reliant on foreign steel for its oil, gas and petrochemical industries. Canada and Mexico were granted exclusions from the tariffs, though Trump threatened that could change depending on the outcome of NAFTA renegotiation talks. Last year, the U.S. imported 5.7 million metric tons of steel from Canada, the highest amount of any country, while 3.2 million tons came from Mexico. Even so, the impact could still prove severe in certain places with many states counting on a longer list of countries to meet their steel needs. Illinois is a good example, relying on Brazil for 41 percent of its steel and China for 29 percent of its aluminum.

*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)


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