Exclusive: Congressmen press Trump on Israeli steel tariff waiver

words of steel

Reps. Brad Schneider and David Schweikert ask White House 'to explain’ lack of exemption

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) walks up the House steps on April 4, 2019.

Congressmen Brad Schneider (D-IL) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) have asked the Trump administration to explain why Israel has not been granted a waiver on new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. 

In a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday and obtained by Jewish Insider, the two lawmakers — both members of the House Ways and Means Committee — noted that while the administration has granted exemptions to a number of key allies, including South Korea, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, the tariffs remain on imports from Israel, an ally and reliable strategic partner. 

Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly failed to secure an exemption from the 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in 2017. 

“The United States and Israel have long enjoyed cooperation on a wide range of issues that enhance, not threaten, U.S. national security, such as development of the Iron Dome missile defense system and countering subterranean terrorist tunnels. This cooperation demonstrates the deep trust and mutual respect that encompasses this vital relationship,” the congressmen wrote. 

The letter concluded, “We do not believe imports of steel and aluminum from Israel are a threat to U.S. national security and are asking you to explain why Israel has not been granted an exemption.”

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