Why we imposed the metal tariffs

Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed. More than 75,000 steel jobs alone have disappeared. Today the U.S. has only one steel mill that can produce the advanced alloys used in armored-vehicle plating; one aluminum smelter that makes the high-grade aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications; and one steel mill that makes the materials needed for infrastructure like electrical transformers.

These tariffs aim to reverse this sorry state of affairs. Companies that produce steel and aluminum have said these tariffs will allow them to reopen mills, expand operations, attract new workers, and maintain critical steel- and aluminum-making skills.

It is true that higher steel and aluminum costs could mean price increases for American consumers. But they should be small for individuals and families. Monthly payments for a typical mass-market car might increase by $4 because of the tariff, according to Commerce Department estimates. Is that a fair price to pay for protecting national security? We think so.