"The President's decision to rescind the steel tariffs will bolster the U.S. manufacturing economy and put many Americans back to work. Employees in the U.S. steel-consuming industries -- who outnumber steel-producing workers 59 to 1 -- will no longer have to pay more than their foreign competitors for steel. They will no longer have to worry about steel shortages preventing them from meeting their customers' deadlines. And they will no longer have to worry about the quality of steel they receive compared to the supplies of their foreign competitors.
"I congratulate President Bush for acknowledging the unintended consequences of the steel tariffs -- which I documented in a series of Small Business Committee hearings last year -- and taking action to correct the damage to the U.S. manufacturing economy. Steel producers are recovering. It's now time to extend that recovery to the rest of America's manufacturers by lifting the crippling burden these tariffs have placed on steel users. America's workers are the big winners today."
The steel tariffs were criticized by the World Trade Organization and various governments, and were also controversial within the United States. Trade protectionist measures often hurt small businesses. That's because smaller businesses have less cushion for higher prices of materials, and are more sensitive to the backlash/unintended consequences resulting from disruptions in the interrelated, global economic ecosystem.
Yet, calls for trade protectionist measures had become louder in recent months. Could President Bush's move last week signal a stronger U.S. government stance against trade protectionism?