A U.S. court upheld former president Donald Trump’s sweeping tariffs on foreign steel in a decision issued Thursday, raising questions over whether the Biden administration would keep in place policies that helped spark a global trade war in 2018.
- President Joe Biden’s recent stance toward metal tariffs has suggested support for at least some of the Trump administration’s trade policies.
- The U.S. Court of International Trade ruled that the tariffs were legal under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, a Cold War-era law that allows the president to limit trade on national security grounds.
- The request to overturn the tariffs was made in 2019 by New Jersey importer Universal Steel Products, which alleged that the Commerce Department report that labeled the metal a national security threat was “procedurally deficient.”
- “We’re disappointed in the opinion,” Lewis Leibowitz, an attorney for Universal Steel Products, said in an interview with Forbes. “It was not what we hoped for or what we expected. We’re exploring other options, including an appeal.”
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Biden on Tuesday reinstated aluminum tariffs on the United Arab Emirates, which Trump had lifted on his last day in office. Biden called the move “necessary and appropriate in light of our national security interests,” signaling that he could keep some other Section 232 tariffs in place during his administration. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Steel and aluminum were some of the first products Trump targeted as part of his signature “America First” approach to trade, which led to tit-for-tat economic conflicts with China and U.S. allies. In 2018, he announced that the U.S. would tax foreign imports of steel at 25% and imports of aluminum at 10%, arguing that cheap metals had undermined the production of U.S. military weapons and aircraft. Critics argue tariffs raise prices for domestic consumers, while proponents say they are an effective tool to keep American companies competitive against unfair trade practices.
“In my view, the available evidence indicates that imports from the UAE may still displace domestic production, and thereby threaten to impair our national security,” Biden said in the proclamation issued Monday.
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Article proposed by FUNDIGEX – Spanish Foundry Exporters’ Association