President Trump has until mid-April to determine whether to impose hefty tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum imports following the release of a new Commerce Department report last week.

The department issued a long-awaited report studying whether the importation of foreign steel threatens U.S. national security. The findings pose significant financial repercussions for U.S. machinery manufacturers, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross proposed several remedial actions to limit the importation of steel through tariffs and quotas. The recommendations are as follows:

  • Imposing a global tariff of 24 percent or more on all imports of covered steel products from all countries.
  • Assessing a 53 percent or higher tariff on covered steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam). All other countries would be subject to a quota that limits their imports to 100 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.
  • A global quota that would limit imports from all countries to 63 percent of their total 2017 exports into the United States (on a country-by-country basis).

By law, President Trump has up to 90 days after receiving the report to take action. That gives the president until early-to-mid April to determine how he wants to proceed, and potential actions range from imposing these exact recommendations, modifying them slightly, or taking no action at all.

U.S. companies can seek an exclusion from the tariff or quota imposed. The Secretary of Commerce would grant exclusions based on a demonstrated a lack of sufficient U.S. production capacity of comparable products; or specific national security-based considerations. This appeal process would include a public comment period of each exclusion request and be concluded within 90 days of an application being filed.

AEM supports increasing domestic steel production through regulatory reform and federal infrastructure investment. Maintaining and expanding domestic steel production is in the interest of our national defense and the economic well-being of American manufacturers. However, any actions taken to boost domestic steel production should not undermine the competitiveness or quality of goods manufactured in America.

To see AEM’s position on the Sec 232: National Security Investigation of Imports of Steel, click here.

Subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor for more industry news and related content.