Donald Trump has made the impossible possible with aluminium and steel tariffs
The numbers behind trade flows of aluminium and steel have suddenly become all important
After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman, “Lies — damn lies — and statistics,” still there are some easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest cannot wriggle out of. — Lord Courtney
The President of the United States of America, Donald Trump,has made the impossible possible. With his recent imposition of tariffs on aluminium and steel he has managed to make the very un-sexy world of trade statistics very sexy. Suddenly, trade flows and trade statistics have become the subject of everyday — watercooler/coffee shop — conversations with the media (traditional media and social media) feeding the public’s newly acquired appetite for the ‘numbers.’
Riding the wave
Not be left out of this new look for trade statistics we here at Commercial Law International found an interesting visualization that helps to tell the story of aluminium and steel trade flows. We unapologetically intend to ride this wave for as long as it lasts — who knew trade stats would become sexy. Thank you The Donald, it could only be you.
Trade flows of aluminium and steel — video
Which countries are the top imports and exporters
Top 5 importers of aluminium (2016)
1) USA: $18.7 billion
2) Germany: $16.7 billion
3) Japan: US$ 6.9 billion
4) France: $6.2 billion
5) China: $5.9 billion
Top 5 exporters of aluminium (2016)
1) China: $21.2 billion
2) Germany: $15.3 billion
3) USA: $12.2 billion
4) Canada: $8 billion
5) Russia: $5.9 billion
Top 5 exporters of steel (2016)
1) European Union: $109 billion
2) China: $51.8 billion
3) USA: $17.4 billion
4) South Korea: $11.1 billion
5) Japan: $9.4 billion
Top 5 importers of steel (2016)
1) European Union: $92.4 billion
2) USA: $33.5 billion
3) China: $9.5 billion
4) Mexico: $8.7 billion
5) Canada: $8.4 billion
What is not in the numbers
On a side, but very important, note there is something not readily revealed by these numbers and that is the full global value chain of aluminium and steel. Going to the very base of this value chain, bauxite and iron ore the source materials of each of these goods are important sources of export earnings for several countries around the world, particularly the developing world. Therefore, the tariffs imposed will not only have an impact on those targeted countries but all countries in the value chain.
It’s not all negative — if recognized, if exploited
Interestingly enough the trade sanctions of USA on aluminium and steel may present some great opportunities, if recognized and if exploited correctly, by developing countries. Counties like Jamaica, an exporter of bauxite and alumina (a materiel resulting from the processing of bauxite and is the base raw material of aluminium) not being on the USA sanction list is a good position to upgrade itself from a raw commodity exporter to a value added exported of aluminium products. This is especially true with recently announced special economic zone investments in the aluminium value chain on the island. The resulting expansion of Jamaica’s value added aluminium exports would be minuscule, from a global or USA imports perspective, however the impact on the island for economic growth, job creation and development would be tremendous.
Once again thank you, Pres. Trump.
Originally published at www.commerciallawinternational.com on March 10, 2018.