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July 20, 2020

U.S. Court On International Trade Rules Against Trump Administration In Section 232 Case

As MetalMiner reports, on July 16 the U.S. Court of International Trade ruled the Trump administration’s decision to double its Section 232 steel tariffs to 50 percent for imports from Turkey violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection guarantees.

Those higher tariffs were in place from August 2018 to May 2019, a period during which some U.S. importers had paid the higher rates.

Specifically, as SteelGuru explains, the court ruled the Trump administration’s decision “was procedurally deficient and singles out importers in violation of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.” The court said, “National security is dependent on sensitive and ever-changing dynamics; the temporal restrictions on the President’s power to take action pursuant to a report and recommendation by the Secretary are not a mere directory guideline, but a restriction that requires strict adherence. This procedure ensures the president has the most up-to-date national security guidance. The president has no authority to modify preexisting Section 232 tariffs outside the stated timelines.”

As FastmarketsAMM explains, the ruling means “the president cannot then modify the Section 232 order by presidential proclamation without obtaining a new report from Commerce and restarting the clock on the timelines for action.”