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Trump Is Deciding Whether To Impose Additional Tariffs On Imported Steel
Jan 16, 2018

Trump is Deciding Whether to Impose Additional Tariffs on Imported Steel

 


     The U.S . Department of Commerce said in a notice that the minister , Wilbur Ross , presented his findings to the White House on Thursday ; the announcement did not reveal its proposed action plan . The president had 90 days to respond to any threat , including tariffs or quotas , or negotiated with foreign producers to find a solution.

      Since April last year, the Ministry of Commerce has been in accordance with Section 232 of the Trade expansion Act of 1962, which is rarely used. If the Commerce Department finds evidence that imports threaten national security, section 232 allows the president to unilaterally adjust imports without a congressional vote.
    The Commerce Department said on Thursday that it would make the investigation public once Trump announced the decision. A similar investigation into aluminium imports will be completed later this month.

     Imposing tariffs on commodities such as steel, the world's largest producer of steel, is bound to annoy China. Tensions between the world's two largest economies have recently intensified. Trump put China and Russia at the same time, saying they challenged America's power and undermined its economic interests.

    Trump's decision comes at a delicate moment in Asian geopolitics. Even as the United States stepped up pressure for China to accelerate economic reform, it has been asking China to help contain North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

    Chinese steel accounts for only a fraction of U.S. imports, but the Trump administration has accused China of exporting to the United States through third countries and of driving down global steel prices by overcapacity.

    Trump has repeatedly threatened to crack down on unfair trade practices by American rivals, and if the administration does so, it will mark the turn of the threat into action. Several major trade decisions are expected to be on Trump's desk this year. These include whether to withdraw from NAFTAA and whether to raise tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels.

    The G20 opposes the threat of tariffs on steel, warning it could trigger a trade war. The steel industry is closely watching the progress of US investigations; U. S. steel imports increased last year as new tariffs were expected to push prices higher. U.S. steelmakers and steelworkers' unions believe tariffs are needed to achieve fair competition. Steel consumers say that would raise prices.

    "What we've been told is that this is going to be done soon, but it's actually dragging its feet," Thomas Conway, vice president of the Federation of American Steelworkers, said in Washington this month.