April 9, 2020

Trump Expands Steel Tariffs, Saying They Are Short of Aim

Large steel companies have ramped up their investment since the tariffs came into effect, however. In the first nine months of 2019, United States Steel invested $978 million in its facilities, up more than 50 percent from the same period a year earlier, while capital investment at Nucor, a competitor, surged 58 percent.

But the companies have had to grapple with a steel price that is well off its recent high. U.S. Steel announced last month that it was indefinitely idling part of a plant near Detroit, sending layoff notices to roughly 1,500 employees. Some industry analysts continue to point at China, which produced steel at a record level in 2019.

At the same time, trade experts have questioned the legal basis for Mr. Trump’s continuing to make revisions to his metal tariffs.

The Trump administration has said Section 232 of a 1962 trade law, the legal provision it used to issue the tariffs, gives the president broad powers to impose tariffs to protect American industry for matters of national security. The administration has argued that domestic capacity to make iron and steel is essential for national defense and issued broad tariffs globally, before later carving out some exemptions for Argentina, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and South Korea.

But in a preliminary decision last year, the United States Court of International Trade gave a narrower interpretation of that statute, arguing that the president must act within certain periods that have already expired.

Ana Swanson reported from Washington, and Peter Eavis from New York.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/27/business/economy/trump-steel-tariffs.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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