ILA Man-Hours Threatened as Trade Wars Over Tariffs Takes Effect

At the recent ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District Convention in Florida, delegates heard from John D. Foster, Chairman of the American Institute for International Steel who warned ILA members that President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign imports could have grave consequences on ILA man-hours at many ports.

Trump’s short sighted and lame attempt to “put America first” may have the opposite effect, according to Mr. Foster, as well as most members of Congress and the general American public.

Alan Robb, President of the ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District invited Mr. Foster to address the hundreds of ILA delegates and guests at the 91st Convention held at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami in July to educate members about the importance of steel imports to the Port of Houston and other Gulf and Atlantic Coast Ports.  President Robb and the ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District have been working closely with the American Institute of International Steel for a number of years to combat legislation that cuts into these job opportunities for ILA members.

“I was very happy with his presentation,” said President Robb of Mr. Foster. “His organization has brought millions of tons of steel through Houston.  We want to protect this commerce.”

President Trump’s tariffs represents a major threat to ILA jobs.

President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum was the opening salvo in a trade war that has promised a tit-for-tat retaliation on U.S. exports by countries hit by the President’s tariff.

The 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum have substantially increased costs for metal import distributors and manufacturers and have threatened their businesses and associated jobs.

In a 2016 study entitled the “National Economic Impact of Imported Iron and Steel on the U.S. Marine Transportation System,” Martin Associates analyzed not only the overall economic impact of imported metals but also specifically the number of jobs created.  The study reported that over “26 thousand jobs are directly generated by iron and steel imports” that flow through our nation’s global gateways.

Foreign steel imports through Gulf Coast, East Coast and Great Lakes ports accounted for more than 3.5 million ILA man-hours in 2017, according to Mr. Foster and the American Institute for International Steel, which focuses more closely on one aspect of employment in the U.S. marine transportation system.

As America’s global trading partners implement reciprocal levies on U.S. exports and with the Trump Administration’s threats of additional tariffs from countries targeted by the Administration, hundreds of thousands of jobs nationally and millions of more longshoreman-hours will be placed at risk.

The ILA encourages the Administration to reconsider its position on tariffs and forge fair and responsible trade policies that promote domestic job growth without jeopardizing existing family-sustaining jobs in the United States.