Last week US President – Donald Trump ordered hefty new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the United States.
Trump’s plan will impose a 25 percent duty on imports of steel, and 10 percent on aluminium.
Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna has since expressed concern over the recently ordered tariffs claiming they could result in dire consequences for Jamaica.
Via a press statement she said:
“The Opposition notes with concern the proposed Tariffs on a number of countries for imported aluminium and steel recently announced by United States President Donald Trump which could have serious direct and indirect economic implications for Jamaica.
For example JISCO, the largest steel producer in China strategically invested US$320 million in the former UC Rusal plant in St. Elizabeth. This is the largest single investment of any kind to Jamaica in current terms which aims to refurbish, modernize and expand the alumina plant for the establishment of several ‘downstream’ and ancillary manufacturing activities.
This could ultimately make Jamaica a manufacturer of aluminium and steel products while producing millions in tons of alumina. Results of this investment should include exportation of these goods to China and elsewhere on the world market.
Already major expansion and rehabilitation of the forty nine year old plant are underway to insert a new power facility and production line. This Specially Designated Economic Zone will also see the importation of aluminium ingots for further processing in the manufacturing of other capital goods for export and local consumption. No doubt the market opportunities in the USA and Jamaica’s trans-shipment capability to economically reach anywhere in the world were factors which led to the JISCO investment
The proposed tariffs pose a definite risk to the international market for these products as they could now attract the new US tariff; potentially limit our exports in these industries; and result in some price increases to our local construction sector… The USA over the past year appears isolationist, protectionist and inward looking in an attempt to change the rules of the game but have only succeeded in complicating foreign trade negotiations and placing strains on “settled” relationships. In these circumstances, Jamaica must NOT adopt a “wait and see” approach …The country is entitled to be apprised by the Government of any possible effect on our fragile economy. Silence is totally unacceptable.”
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