The New York Times reports today on how successful a couple of major steel companies — including Nucor, with Arkansas operations — have been in blocking tariff exemptions for other manufacturers.

Charlotte-based Nucor, which financed a documentary film made by a top trade adviser to Mr. Trump, and Pittsburgh-based United States Steel, which has previously employed several top administration officials, have objected to 1,600 exemption requests filed with the Commerce Department over the past several months.

To date, their efforts have never failed, resulting in denials for companies that are based in the United States but rely on imported pipes, screws, wire and other foreign steel products for their supply chains.

The ability of a single industry to exert so much influence over the exclusions process is striking even in Mr. Trump’s business-friendly White House, given the high stakes for thousands of American companies that depend on foreign metals. 

The companies defend their actions and the tariffs.


“The tariffs are working,” said John Ferriola, Nucor’s chairman, chief executive and president. “They are protecting our national security and stimulating additional domestic steel production.”