January 23, 2018 | by    

White House Reviewing Section 232 Aluminum Report, Will Decide In Coming Weeks On Remedies Needed

On Friday, January 19, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross formally submitted to President Donald Trump the results of the department’s Section 232 investigation into the effect that wrought and unwrought aluminum imports have had on U.S. national security.

As with the Section 232 steel report, the White House and the Commerce Department would not indicate whether the report found a national security threat. Officials also would not allude to what actions or remedies the department proposed that the president take. According to CNBC, however, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has recommended a “wide range of options” to deal with both steel and aluminum dumping in the United States, including higher tariffs and the targeting of specific “bad actors.”

By law, the president now has 90 days, or until April 19, 2018, to decide on any potential action based on the findings of the investigation. The Commerce Department said it will publish a summary of its investigation in the Federal Register after the president announces his decision. At that time, it also will make its report available to the public after removing any business confidential or classified material.

In public comments submitted to the Commerce Department last June, the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) President and CEO M. Robert Weidner, III advised that any remedies imposed by the Trump administration should:

  • Not upset the U.S. aluminum industry’s strong and beneficial trading relationship with Canada and Mexico;
  • Provide the same relief for upstream and downstream domestic producers; and
  • Give the aluminum industry the time it needs to invest in and establish necessary domestic production capability.

In its comments, MSCI specifically requested the exclusion of Canada and Mexico from trade penalties resulting from the 232 investigation on aluminum.