Trump complains about the imbalance of trade with China, and so he should. USA export $130 Bil to China (lots of it raw materials to be converted into finished goods for export back to USA!!) China exports $506 Bil to USA (2017 figs) Imbalance of $376 Bil. More on this later.
Steel has nothing to do with this situation, hence new Steel Import Tariffs will impact most on those countries who export steel to USA. These are.
1) Canada 16%.
2) Brazil 13%.
3) S Korea 10%.
4) Mexico 9%.
5) Russia 9%
followed by Taiwan, India, Turkey.
China’s exports to USA less than 2%.
Canada, Brazil & Mexico export 35% of their domestic Steel production to USA.
The ability of USA Steel companies to find markets overseas has been abysmal. Between 2009 & 2016 their exports rose 32%, but imports rose 219%.
USA companies clearly cannot get the domestically made steel either due to quality or price or both combined. Tariffs on imports will make steel more expensive, whether users buy higher priced local steel or pay more for their imports, hence USA products which use steel (and aluminium) will become more expensive for USA consumers and make steel using exports more expensive.
Difficult to see exactly who is going to benefit most from this potential tariff war.