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July 17, 2017

Update On Commerce Department Steel 232 Investigation: Report Coming This Week?

Late last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross briefed members of the U.S. Senate on the department’s investigation into how steel imported into the United States impacts the country’s national security. This development could be a sign that the Commerce Department soon will publicly release the results of its investigation and its recommendations to President Donald Trump.

Politico’s “Morning Trade” reported that, after the briefing, senators speculated that the Commerce Department’s report could be released early this week. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) said, “I would assume we’re talking weeks, maybe days” while Sen. Sherrod Brown said Secretary Ross told him that the department is “pretty much committed” to finalizing the report this week.

In an interview on Air Force One, meanwhile, President Trump made it clear that he is considering placing both tariffs and quotas on steel imports. The president said, “Steel is a big problem. I mean, they're dumping steel. Not only China, but others. … They've been doing it for decades, and I’m stopping it.” When asked how he would stop steel dumping, President Trump said, “There are two ways—quotas and tariffs. Maybe I’ll do both.”

In his Capitol Hill meeting, Secretary Ross confirmed that the release of the aluminum Section 232 report would follow the release of the steel report. The Commerce Department is only in the early stages of the aluminum investigation.

In related news: coming out of the early July G-20 summit, leaders agreed that their countries would “rapidly develop concrete policy solutions that reduce steel excess capacity.” According to Politico, “By November, [the G-20] countries will have ‘a substantive report with concrete policy solutions’ which will be used ‘as a basis for tangible and swift policy action.’” Click here to read the G-20’s official post-summit communication.