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:

  1. A global tariff of at least 24% on all steel imports from all countries, or
  2. 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
  3. 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:
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Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) denied an appeal by Capella Sales & Services Ltd., an importer of aluminum extrusions from China, in which the company challenged the countervailing duty margin applied to its entries at liquidation, arguing that a lower rate should have been applied by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Capella did not participate in U.S. Department of Commerce’s (“Commerce”) 2011-2012 administrative review of aluminum extrusions from China.  As a result, its entries were subject to the 374.15% “all others” rate under the countervailing duty order.  In connection with other litigation, the 374.15% “all others” rate was reduced to 7.37% in October 2015 based on challenges brought by several other importers of aluminum extrusions. 
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On Friday, October 27, 2017, the Department of Commerce announced its affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty investigation on aluminum foil from China.  The Department calculated preliminary dumping margins of 96.81 and 162.24 percent for the two mandatory respondents under investigation.  Additionally, the Department set the rate for the PRC-wide entity at 162.24 percent and the rate all other companies found to be separate from the PRC-wide entity at 138.16 percent.
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Commerce Secretary Ross and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security held a public hearing on Thursday, June 22, 2017 in the ongoing Section 232 investigation into whether aluminum imports are a threat to U.S. national security.

Witness testimony covered several topics including the negative effects of China’s aluminum overcapacity, the coverage and

The Commerce Department has signaled that it will issue findings in its respective “Section 232” investigations covering imports of steel and aluminum before the end of June.  Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. § 1862) grants the U.S. Department of Commerce the authority to conduct an investigation to determine whether imports of particular merchandise threaten the national security.  The Commerce Department then issues its findings, along with a recommendation for action, to the President.  A conclusion that imports of steel or aluminum threaten the national security allows the President to decide whether to adjust or modify the volumes or prices of imports of foreign-made steel or aluminum into the United States. 
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