April 3, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Section 232 Tariff Case

On March 27, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition by USP Holdings, Inc. and other parties challenging the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariffs on steel imports.

The Supreme Court’s denial of the petition ends this particular litigation.

The justices’ decision came less than a year after the court refused to hear a separate, but more limited challenge, to the Section 232 tariffs. That case only concerned imports from Turkey.

In the more recent challenge, USP and its fellow petitioners had asked Supreme Court justices to reverse aspects of a June 2022 decision by a lower court that upheld the Section 232 tariffs and had determined the original U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) recommendations in its Section 232 report were not reviewable under federal law. As Reuters explained, that (DOC) report, issued by then-U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, had determined metals imports were causing domestic plants to close, undermining the U.S. “ability to meet national security production requirements in a national emergency.”

As MSCI members are well aware, as a result of those findings, in March 2018, former President Donald Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports from most nations and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

As a reminder, when it comes to Section 232 tariffs, Connecting the Dots is reporting the results of this case for members’ information only.

MSCI consistently has argued that global overcapacity and other unfair trading practices, particularly by China, have harmed the U.S. steel and aluminum markets. To address this circumvention, MSCI has advised federal officials to provide relief for producers up and down the supply chain and to consider the consequences of any new trade policy, including: the economic impact of global overcapacity on the entire domestic metals supply chain; transition times and implementation rules to any new policy; availability of domestic metals to meet U.S. national security needs, as well as general industrial and consumer demand; and trade flows under current free trade agreements, including the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). MSCI also asked that Canada and Mexico be excluded from any trade penalties.

Click here to review all of MSCI’s advocacy on Section 232 tariffs.

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