Commerce Department Recommends Expansive Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

On Feb. 16, the Commerce Department publicized its investigation into the national security threat posed by steel and aluminum imports. The report determines that the metal imports “threaten to impair the national security,” and lays out three recommendations for imposing tariffs and/or quotas on steel and aluminum imports. AGC will urge the president to consider the potential negative impact of such actions on the construction industry—which uses the materials in a broad array of project types—as he determines his response.
Commerce’s top-line recommendation is a 24 percent global tariff on all steel imports and a 7.7 percent tariff on all aluminum imports. The report also recommends that the Commerce Secretary oversee an appeals and exclusion process, whereby American companies can appeal for specific products to be excluded “if the U.S. lacks sufficient domestic capacity or for national security considerations.”
The Commerce Department’s alternative recommendations can be found here, along with the full steel and aluminum reports.
Because the investigation was carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, President Trump has the authority to act without Congressional approval. He must implement or reject the steel recommendations by April 11 and the aluminum recommendations by April 19.
For more information, contact Collin Janich at [email protected] or (703) 837-5435.

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