Steel Products

Commerce Submits Section 232 Report to President

Written by Sandy Williams

The Section 232 report on the effect of steel mill product imports on U.S. national security was submitted to President Trump by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross late on Thursday, Jan. 11. The president now has 90 days to take action.

Details of the report have not been released. In its announcement, the Commerce Department said a summary will be published in the Federal Register after the president makes a decision. Any confidential business or classified material will be removed from the report before it is made available to the public.

“The statute, as I read it, requires the report (with confidential and classified information deleted) to be published. However, the Commerce Department is taking the position that the report will only be published after the president announces his decision on 232,” said Washington trade attorney Lewis Leibowitz. “President Trump has 90 days to decide what, if anything, to do about steel. The decision could be announced any time between now and April.”

The American Iron and Steel Institute and the Steel Manufacturers Association applauded the submission.

“The steel industry welcomes the news that the Secretary of Commerce has formally submitted his report to the president in the Section 232 investigation into the impact of steel imports on the national security,” wrote AISI president Thomas Gibson in a statement. “We are confident that we have made the case that the repeated surges in steel imports in recent years threaten to impair our national security, and we look forward to the president’s decision on the appropriate actions to address this critical situation.”

SMA President Philip Bell wrote, “Although the report is not yet public, we believe that the investigation findings will confirm what domestic steelmakers already know. Imports of certain steel products to the United States should be restricted on national security grounds. The president now has 90 days to determine what actions and remedies will be taken to deal with this existential threat.

“We are confident that President Trump takes actions and proposes remedies that are broad, meaningful and impactful. That is the only way we can begin to significantly reduce the many tons of illegally and unfairly imported steel that finds its way to our shores,” Bell added.

United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard is among those urging the president to delay no further. “We’re dismayed that the report took so long to produce and that we still have to wait for a decision. It is obvious that our nation’s steel sector has been under attack by unfair foreign trade and that the sector is vital to our national security. The current surge in imports is the result of countries taking advantage of our market before the president acts.

“The president has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset the trade agenda and protect and preserve the jobs of hardworking Americans now and for the future. We’ve got to champion the interests of American workers, and all our citizens, by protecting industries vital to our national security. It’s time now for the president to take action to fix our failed trade policies, protect our industrial base and national security, and revitalize our infrastructure and create good-paying jobs. The time for talk and debate has passed and the president should act boldly,” Gerard said.

United States Steel expressed similar sentiment in a statement:  “With the completion of the Department of Commerce’s investigation, we encourage President Trump to take swift and decisive action. Our nation cannot afford to allow the continued rise of foreign imports that undermine America’s capacity to produce the steel necessary for our country’s national and economic security.”

The Alliance for American Manufacturing said Trump must act now. “We hope the president acts swiftly to secure America’s industrial base and well-paying steelworker jobs,” said AAM President Scott Paul. “Steel imports are rising, layoff announcements are piling up, and the industry is anxiously waiting for the president to deliver on his commitment to America’s steelworkers. Final resolution of the Section 232 case doesn’t need to take 90 days; we’ve seen more than six months of delays already. Let’s get this done by the end of January.”

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