In April 2017, the US Department of Commerce self-initiated Section 232 investigations on all steel and aluminum imports from anywhere in the world. In January 2018, following public comment and interagency deliberations, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross transmitted the results of his agency’s investigations to the White House. These reports also contained the agency’s recommendations for potential actions by the President.
On February 16, 2018, the Commerce Department confirmed that it “found that the quantities of circumstances of steel and aluminum imports ‘threaten to impair the national security,’” as defined by the Section 232 statute. The Commerce Department also released the texts of its steel and aluminum reports, confirming it had recommended the President impose strict tariffs and/or quotas on potentially all steel and aluminum imports. While US President Donald Trump is not bound by these recommendations, they represent – if implemented – substantial risk to substantially all importers, suppliers, and consumers of imported steel and aluminum products across product categories and around the world.