Talking Tax Reform: The Impact of Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on American Workers, Businesses, and Consumers

Presented by:

Alex Durante

Scott Lincicome

Scott Lincicome

Erica York

Erica York

The Tax Foundation is hosting an online discussion about the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, including how they work and their impacts on American jobs, wages, and prices. Erica York will moderate a panel with experts Scott Lincicome and Alex Durante who will share their insights into the complicated world of tariffs. 

Implemented by former President Trump and continued by President Biden, Section 232 tariffs are one of very few policy agreements between the two. While the Biden administration reached deals to replace certain steel and aluminum tariffs with tariff rate quota systems, imports above the thresholds will still face the Section 232 tariffs. Though Trump and Biden might have different motivations for imposing and maintaining tariffs, the policies themselves have remained largely unchanged since their implementation in 2018.

At times, both Biden and Trump have claimed that foreigners are paying the costs of tariffs, not Americans. US importers clearly cut the checks to the US government, but the more important question is who bears the economic brunt of tariffs? And who is hurt when foreigners decide to retaliate with tariffs of their own?

Our panel will explore who pays and who benefits from tariffs, as well as how presidents can raise billions from tariffs without approval or input from Congress. Alex will highlight his recent research on the Section 232 tariffs, including his modeling of their economic impact. Scott will explain the origins of the president’s tariff powers and how future administrations could enact even further-reaching tariffs.

Tune in to our webinar on Thursday, July 18th at noon ET for an informative discussion on the Section 232 tariffs.


  • Erica York, Senior Economist and Research Director, Tax Foundation


  • Scott Lincicome, Vice President, General Economics and Stiefel Trade Policy Center at Cato Institute
  • Alex Durante, Economist, Tax Foundation

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