Biden vows to protect U.S. steel industry


President Joe Biden wants to triple tariff rates on Chinese steel and aluminum if investigators confirm allegations of the country’s unfair trade practices.

“The backbone of America has a steel spine,” he said Wednesday during a visit to the United Steelworkers union headquarters in Pittsburgh. “It really does.”

Biden wants the U.S. Trade Representative to increase the 7.5% rate as federal regulators raise the alarm about China’s subsidized steel exports that flood the market with cheaper, lower-quality materials.

“They’re not competing, they’re cheating,” he said. “And we’ve seen the damage here in America.”

It’s the final stop on Biden’s three-day tour across Pennsylvania – his native state and a key battleground in the presidential election, where labor unions wield political influence.

“I’m proud to be the most pro-union president in American history,” Biden said. “Where I was raised, it ain’t labor, it’s unions.”

In March, the United Steelworkers praised the president for speaking out against a $14.9 billion offer from a Japanese company to buy U.S. Steel, based in Pittsburgh roughly one mile from the union’s headquarters.

“It should remain a totally American company,” Biden said. “American owned, American operated, by American union steelworkers, the best in the world. And that’s going to happen, I promise you.”