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COMMERCE RELEASES SECTION 232 REPORTS FOR STEEL, ALUMINUM
February 16, 2018


On Friday, February 16, 2018, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross released two reports pertaining to the Department's self-initiated investigations into steel and aluminum imports' national security implications.  These were conducted under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act ("The Act").

According to the reports, both the amounts of imported steel and aluminum and the circumstances of their importation posed a threat to the domestic industry and, by extension, national security.  The reports, which proposed recommendations for protective trade measures, were sent to President Trump late last month.  Any measures which he adopts under The Act are in addition to any currently existing duties.  

The steel report recommended a minimum global tariff of 24%.  As an alternative, it proposed a targeted minimum tariff of 53% on all imports from Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, coupled with a tariff rate quota on all other countries equal to 100% of their 2017 export totals to the U.S.  Also suggested was a global tariff rate quota equal to 63% of the country's 2017 export total. 

The aluminum report recommended a minimum global tariff of 7.7%.  As an alternative, it proposed a targeted minimum tariff of 23.6% on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela, and Vietnam, coupled with a tariff rate quota on all other countries equal to 100% of the country's 2017 exports to the U.S. Also suggested was a global tariff quota equal to 86.7% of each country's 2017 export total. 

Both reports also recommended the establishment for procedures for evaluating U.S. parties' requests for exclusions for certain products due to insufficient domestic capacity or their unique national security importance.

The deadlines for presidential action are April 11, 2018 and April 19, 2018 for steel and aluminum, respectively. 

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