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Trump’s trade war is benefitting the duopoly power of big steel companies.

The Trump administration promised to save American jobs by raising tariffs on steel imports, but the real beneficiaries are the two big steel companies, Nucor and United States Steel, whose monopolistic stranglehold on the American market has only deepened. As The New York Times reports, “Two of America’s biggest steel manufacturers — both with deep ties to administration officials — have successfully objected to hundreds of requests by American companies that buy foreign steel to exempt themselves from President Trump’s stiff metal tariffs. They have argued that the imported products are readily available from American steel manufacturers.”

Writing in The New Republic in January 2018, David Dayen warned that trade war could lead to “a duopoly in domestic steel production that, if empowered as the two major suppliers to the U.S. market, would have an enormous impact on what Americans build and eventually what they buy.”

The Trump administration’s willingness to shape policy to meet the demands of the big two steel companies confirms Dayen’s concern about creating “domestic steel monopolies.”

The steel companies have objected to 1,600 requests for exemption. “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 Times notes. “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.”