WHAT: Section 232 investigations help to determine the effects of imports on America’s national security and give the President the ability to address any threats to national security by restricting imports through tariffs.
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended, gives the executive branch the ability to conduct investigations to “determine the effects on the national security of imports.” Within 270 days of initiating any investigation, the Commerce Department issues a report to the President with the investigation’s findings, including whether certain imports threaten to impair America’s national security. The President has 90 days to determine whether he concurs with the findings and, if so, to use his statutory authority under Section 232 “to adjust the imports” as necessary, including through tariffs or quotas.
WHY: President Donald J. Trump has accepted the Commerce Department’s recent conclusion that imported steel and aluminum “threaten to impair the national security,” and is taking action to protect America.
In January 2018, the Department of Commerce delivered the Section 232 reports on steel and aluminum to the President. In February 2018, the Commerce Department publicly released Section 232 reports on imported steel and aluminum. The reports concluded that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security,” as defined by Section 232. The reports found that United States steel imports were nearly four times our exports, and that aluminum imports had risen to 90% of total demand for primary aluminum. The Commerce Department recommended that President Trump take action to protect the long-term viability of our nation’s steel and aluminum industries.