On Friday, February 16, 2018, Secretary Ross released public versions of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s reports concerning the agency’s section 232 investigations into the impact on national security of steel and aluminum imports. As a result of its investigations, the Department of Commerce has determined that imports of steel and aluminum “threaten to impair the national security.”
The Secretary’s press release presents the agency’s key findings and lists the agency’s various recommended remedies. With respect to steel imports, the Department of Commerce recommends three alternative options to the President:
- A global tariff of at least 24% on all steel imports from all countries, or
- A tariff of at least 53% on all steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam) with a quota by product on steel imports from all other countries equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the United States, or
- A quota on all steel products from all countries equal to 63% of each country’s 2017 exports to the United States.
With respect to aluminum imports, the Department of Commerce recommends three alternative options to the President:
- A tariff of at least 7.7% on all aluminum exports from all countries, or
- A tariff of 23.6% on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. All the other countries would be subject to quotas equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the United States, or
- A quota on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the United States.
The statute provides President Trump with the authority to adopt the Department’s recommendations, take some other unidentified action, or take no action. The President is required to make a decision on the Department’s recommendations concerning: (1) steel imports by April 11, 2018; and (2) aluminum imports by April 19, 2018.
The Commerce Department’s reports also recommend that a process be set up to allow Secretary Ross to grant requests by U.S. companies to exclude certain products from whatever remedy President Trump ultimately imposes.
The Kelley Drye International Trade team is closely reviewing these reports and monitoring any further developments.