Metal tariffs could exclude NAFTA partners
Date: Friday, March 9, 2018
Source: American Shipper
Pending broad tariffs on steel and aluminum expected to be rolled out in the next few days will include “potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security, and possibly other countries,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday.
Sanders said it’s now expected that Trump will sign “something by the end of the week” to activate the tariffs, but earlier in the week said an official proclamation could alternately be finalized early next week.
Last Thursday, Trump announced his intention to assess global tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports, pursuant to separate “Section 232” investigations led by the Commerce Department into the national security impacts of steel and aluminum imports completed earlier this year.
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 allows the President to assess tariffs, quotas, and other remedies to respond to imports that executive branch reviews determine are detrimental to national security.
On Wednesday, 107 House Republicans sent a letter to Trump, calling for remedies to be narrow and exclude all fairly traded products and those “that do not pose a national security threat.”
The letter also called for a “robust exclusion process” to be “announced at the outset” to allow U.S. companies to petition for and “promptly obtain” duty-free access for imports unavailable from U.S. sources or otherwise present extenuating circumstances.
Republicans are calling for existing steel and aluminum purchase contracts to be grandfathered to allow duty-free imports and “avoid disrupting the operation and finances of projects” already budgeted and ongoing.
“We support your resolve to address distortions caused by China’s unfair practices, and we are committed to acting with you and our trading partners on meaningful and effective action,” the letter says. “But we urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the U.S. economy and its workers. We are eager to work with you in pursuing a workable, targeted approach that achieves our shared goal.”
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