President Trump signed an executive memorandum Thursday prioritizing an investigation into unfair trade practices in steel importation.
“As imports of steel to the United States continue to rise, an examination of foreign practices is urgently needed,” the White House said in a statement.
Recent reports by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) have found that steel imports injure the United States steel industry.
Steel imports have risen by almost 20% despite a good supply of domestic steel.
The USITC has found domestic steel makers are harmed where nations that export steel products to the United States unfairly subsidize their products or sell them at an artificially low price.
The president’s memorandum directs the Secretary of Commerce to expedite an investigation of the effects of steel imports on the national security to determine the following:
- Whether steel imports cause American workers to lose jobs which are needed to meet security requirements of the domestic steel industry
- Any negative effects of steel imports on government revenue
- Any harm steel imports cause to the economic welfare of the United States, recognizing the close relationship between economic prosperity and national security.
If the report concludes that steel imports threaten to impair the national security, and the President concurs, he may take several actions, including tariffs, to eliminate the negative effects of steel imports on the national security of the United States.
Today, I’m directing the Department of Commerce to immediately prioritize the investigation that began yesterday and really long before that — because Wilbur and I have been working on this for a long time — into foreign steel arriving into our markets, and to submit a report on the effects of these foreign steel products on the national security of the United States. It’s not just the pricing, its not just employment, it also has to do with the national security of our country, which people never talk about. I talked about it.
Domestic steel production is not only an economic issue. Having steel available only from a foreign nation would allow a critical building material to be used as blackmail. Worse, should the U.S. enter into conflict with a source nation, the steel necessary to build and maintain military equipment could be cut off.
“From now on, we’re going to stand up for American jobs, workers, their security, and for American steel companies and companies generally,” said the president at the signing ceremony. “Today’s action is the next vital step toward making America strong and prosperous once again.”
Recently, the president signed an executive order requiring future pipeline projects to use U.S. sourced steel.
“We’re going to use American steel, we’re going to use American labor, we are going to come first in all deals,” said President Trump.