From The Hill

The Commerce Department is recommending hefty tariffs or quotas severely restricting imported steel and aluminum, which if taken would almost certainly lead to an international trade war.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters on Friday that his department’s investigations found that imported steel is a threat to national security and recommended at least a 24 percent tariff on all steel imports from around the world under a law called Section 232.

The report highlights a number of options for President Trump, who could also decide to not take any action.

The report from the Commerce Department includes the 24 percent tariff on all steel imports as one of three options for President Trump.

Under the section option, Trump could levy a 53 percent tariff on all steel imports from 12 countries: Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. This option could also include a quota limiting steel imports from all other countries that would be equal to 100 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.

The third option outlined in the report includes no tariffs, but would impose a quota on all steel products from all countries equal to 63 percent of each country’s 2017 imports into the United States.

Possible trade war could result if U.S. puts restrictions in place

If he takes steps to severely restrict imports, it would almost certainly lead to retaliation against U.S. exports around the world, as well as litigation within the World Trade Organization.

It would be the biggest example yet of the muscular actions Trump promised during his presidential campaign to take on behalf of U.S. workers and manufacturers.

But it would lead to certain criticism that Trump risks putting the U.S. economy’s growth at risk.

The president is required to make a decision on the steel recommendations by April 11 and on the aluminum recommendations by April 19.

On aluminum, the report recommends a tariff of at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum exports from all countries.

As an option, it says the administration could impose a tariff of 23.6 percent on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. All the other countries would be subject to quotas equal to 100 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.

The third option set out for aluminum is a quote apply that would apply on all imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7 percent of last year’s exports to the United States.


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