Despite President Donald Trump's tough talk on trade, his administration has granted hundreds of companies permission to import millions of tons of steel made in China, Japan and other countries without paying the hefty tariff he put in place to protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, according to an Associated Press analysis.
Companies have filed nearly 50,000 applications for exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed last year by President Trump. The Associated Press has found that more than 14,000 exemptions have been granted to at least 370 companies; about 27,000 additional exemption applications are still pending.
Of the applications acted on so far, the AP found that most of the companies requesting an exemption get one, including those that wish to import from China or are themselves subsidiaries of Chinese firms.
The exemptions allow companies to avoid paying the tariffs, working around the Trump administration's trade policies. Company owners say the waivers are the only way they can affordably access the materials they need for their businesses.
Despite trade war rhetoric, many exemptions are granted for import requests from China: 300 million kilograms of steel imports from China have been waived from tariffs so far. The total volume of steel receiving tariff waivers is now 3.5 billion kilograms.
Congressional control of a company's district does not appear to be a factor in whether an exemption is granted or not. Companies in Democratic districts were approved at similar rates to those in Republican districts.
Search the full list of companies that applied for exemptions by state, keyword number of exemptions granted or other variables.