As previewed earlier, at noon on Friday the commerce department released reports on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s investigations into the impact on our national security from imports of steel mill products and from imports of wrought and unwrought aluminum. These investigations were carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. All classified and business confidential information in the reports was redacted before the release.
Specifically, the department, found that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security,” as defined by Section 232.
“I am glad that we were able to provide this analysis and these recommendations to the President,” said Secretary Ross. “I look forward to his decision on any potential course of action.”
Others were less sanguine. A former senior government trade official quoted by Axios, said that without major exemptions, these recommendations would represent: “[T]he opening shot in a trade war… a declaration of war against the world on aluminum and steel… These are some of our closest treaty allies… These are some serious numbers.”
And another quote from a trade expert: “This would be beyond a trade war. You’re talking about blowing up the WTO.”
As the Commerce Dept’s press release adds:
the reports are currently under consideration by the President, and no final decisions have been made with regard to their contents. The President may take a range of actions, or no action, based on the analysis and recommendations provided in the reports. Action could include making modifications to the courses of action proposed, such as adjusting percentages.
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