As President Donald Trump fights to win battleground state Michigan, there is evidence that his tariff policies have hurt his chances. Steel and agriculture are important industries in the state and billions of dollars have been lost due to tariffs.

In March 2018, the Trump administration imposed a 25% tariff on steel in order to protect American steel mills from foreign competition. The tariffs decreased demand for steel from the auto industry and other consumers, hurting steel plants.

Great Lakes Works, one of the largest mills in Michigan, laid off 1,250 workers in June and shut down steelmaking operations. The plant is owned by Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel.

A Reuters analysis reveals that Michigan steelmakers have issued layoff notices to 2,000 workers since the tariffs were implemented. 

The trade war has also hurt Michigan farmers. When Trump announced new tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese imports in May 2019, some farmers spoke out against the move. 

“The noose is getting tighter,” president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association Jim Byrum told the Detroit Free Press that month. “We have lost market opportunities. We’re not shipping soybeans around the world like we normally would. We’re not shipping them to China. China was our biggest soybean consumer, and they’re not moving.”

The Agriculture Department launched the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to help farmers in 2019. The program distributes payments to farmers negatively impacted by the trade war. 

A report by the Government Accountability Office published in September found Michigan farmers received less on average from the MFP than farmers in other states.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland notes that Americans have paid over $60 billion in tariffs since the trade war began. In Michigan, more than $2 billion in tariffs have been paid by taxpayers while 1.1 million jobs in the state are supported by

road to hell is paved with good intentions. if they were good intentions

CHICAGO(Reuters) – President Donald Trump promised a new dawn for the struggling U.S. steel industry in 2016, and the lure of new jobs in Midwestern states including Michigan helped him eke out a surprise election win.

Four years later, Great Lakes Works – once among the state’s largest steel plants – has shut down steelmaking operations and put 1,250 workers out of a job. A year before the June layoffs, plant owner United States Steel Corp called off a plan to invest $600 million in upgrades amid deteriorating market conditions.

Trump’s strategy centered on shielding U.S. steel mills from foreign competition with a 25% tariff imposed in March 2018. He also promised to boost steel demand through major investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

But higher steel prices resulting from the tariffs dented demand from the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry and other steel consumers. And the Trump administration has never followed through on an infrastructure plan.

While the tariffs failed to boost overall steel employment, economists say they created higher costs for major steel consumers – killing jobs at companies including Detroit-based automakers General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. Nationally, steel and aluminum tariffs resulted in at least 75,000 job losses in metal-using industries by the end of last year, according to an analysis by Lydia Cox, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Harvard University, and Kadee Russ, an economics professor at the University of California, Davis. In all, they estimated, the trade war had caused a net loss of 175,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs by mid-2019.

When U.S. Steel idled Great Lakes Works, which primarily serves the automotive industry, it cited weak demand, lower steel prices and a new corporate strategy to invest in more

President Donald Trump promised a new dawn for the struggling U.S. steel industry in 2016, and the lure of new jobs in Midwestern states including Michigan helped him eke out a surprise election win.

Four years later, Great Lakes Works — once among the state’s largest steel plants — has shut down steelmaking operations and put 1,250 workers out of a job. A year before the June layoffs, plant owner United States Steel Corp called off a plan to invest $600 million in upgrades amid deteriorating market conditions.

Trump’s strategy centered on shielding U.S. steel mills from foreign competition with a 25 percent tariff imposed in March 2018. He also promised to boost steel demand through major investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

But higher steel prices resulting from the tariffs dented demand from the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry and other steel consumers. And the Trump administration has never followed through on an infrastructure plan.

Higher steel prices resulting from Trump’s tariffs have dented demand from the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry and other steel consumers.

Michigan’s heavy reliance on the steel and auto industries puts Trump’s trade policy in sharp focus ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election in this battleground state. Democrats say they aim to recapture the votes of blue-collar workers they lost to Trump four years ago — one key factor in his victory over Hillary Clinton. Trump won Michigan by less than one percent of the statewide vote total. The competition for the votes of often-unionized manufacturing workers —who historically have voted Democratic — will be just as fierce in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, political analysts say.

Biden leads Trump in Michigan by 8 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos state opinion poll of likely voters conducted from Sept. 29 – Oct.

By Rajesh Kumar Singh



a building that has a sign on the side of a road: FILE PHOTO: Entrance to the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant is seen in Ecorse, Michigan


© Reuters/Rebecca Cook
FILE PHOTO: Entrance to the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant is seen in Ecorse, Michigan

CHICAGO(Reuters) – President Donald Trump promised a new dawn for the struggling U.S. steel industry in 2016, and the lure of new jobs in Midwestern states including Michigan helped him eke out a surprise election win.

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Four years later, Great Lakes Works – once among the state’s largest steel plants – has shut down steelmaking operations and put 1,250 workers out of a job. A year before the June layoffs, plant owner United States Steel Corp called off a plan to invest $600 million in upgrades amid deteriorating market conditions.

Trump’s strategy centered on shielding U.S. steel mills from foreign competition with a 25% tariff imposed in March 2018. He also promised to boost steel demand through major investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

But higher steel prices resulting from the tariffs dented demand from the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry and other steel consumers. And the Trump administration has never followed through on an infrastructure plan.

Michigan’s heavy reliance on the steel and auto industries puts Trump’s trade policy in sharp focus ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election in this battleground state. Democrats say they aim to recapture the votes of blue-collar workers they lost to Trump four years ago – one key factor in his victory over Hillary Clinton. Trump won Michigan by less than one percent of the statewide vote total. The competition for the votes of often-unionized manufacturing workers – who historically have voted Democratic – will be just as fierce in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, political analysts say.



a large brick building with grass in front of a house: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant is seen behind a working-class neighborhood in Ecorse, Michigan


© Reuters/Rebecca Cook
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant is seen behind a working-class neighborhood in

U.S. raw steel production continues to leap on a weekly basis on an improvement in capacity utilization — a key metric in the steel industry. According to the latest American Iron and Steel Institute (“AISI”) weekly report, domestic raw steel production was 1,484,000 net tons for the week ending Oct 3, a 0.3% increase from production of 1,480,000 net tons for the week ending Sep 26. This follows a 2.4% rise on a weekly comparison basis for the week ending Sep 26.

However, the weekly production still trails that of a year ago. Production for the reported week was down 17.7% from 1,803,000 net tons registered for the same period a year ago.

Weekly Utilization Ticks Up

Capacity utilization was 66.6% for the reported week, rising from the previous week’s reading of 66.1%, indicating an improvement in activity. However, it was still well below the key 80% threshold — the minimum rate required for sustained profitability of the industry. Capability utilization rate for the reported week was down from 77.7% a year ago, AISI noted.

Notably, after remaining above the 80% the level in early 2020, capacity utilization rate tumbled to 51.1% in May — the lowest level in many years as the coronavirus pandemic decimated demand across major steel end-use markets. Utilization has started to pick up with a recovery in steel demand from the slump witnessed during the first half of 2020.

Meanwhile, by-region, output from Great Lakes rose roughly 1% on a weekly basis to 531,000 net tons in the reported week. Production in the Southern region slipped roughly 3% to 575,000 net tons in the reported week. Mills in the North East produced 144,000 net tons of raw steel, up around 13% from the previous week. The Midwest region produced 168,000 net tons of raw steel,