President Trump Expected to Sign Executive Order to Determine Whether Steel Imports Should be Restricted on National Security Grounds

April 20, 2017

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a new Executive Order (EO) today, invoking a rarely-used provision of U.S. trade law, Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, to determine whether imports of steel into the United States should be restricted on national security grounds, according to POLITICO Pro.

The proposed EO would direct Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to launch an investigation to determine if steel is being imported in sufficient quantities or under such circumstances that it threatens to impair national security and report to the President within 270 days. The President would then have 90 days to determine whether to “adjust” imports or take other non-trade related action, and 15 days to take such action that the President determines is warranted.

The statute directs the Secretary of Commerce and the President to consider, among other factors, domestic production needed for projected national defense requirements and the impact of foreign competition on the economic welfare of domestic industries.

President Trump appears to be making good on his campaign promise to use every lawful presidential power, including Section 232, to address unfairly traded imports. A number of steel industry executives have been invited to the White House to meet with President Trump today. It will be important to keep abreast of any developments on this front to determine the impact of the EO.

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