US manufacturing association applauds new legislation to amend Section 232

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 01:03:31 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego
       

Paul Nathanson, spokesperson for the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU), issued a statement Wednesday in support of the introduction of the “Bicameral Trade Authority Act of 2019,” legislation that would amend Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act:

“CAMMU strongly supports the Bicameral Trade Authority Act of 2019 as it would help ensure that tariffs are only imposed under Section 232 for truly national security purposes,” Nathanson said. “Importantly, the legislation could potentially revoke the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs that continue to cause damage to millions of workers in the US manufacturing sector.”

Nathanson said that US companies continue to be hurt by the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, paying hundreds of dollars more per ton for steel than their overseas competitors, resulting in lost business opportunities.

“In addition, the domestic steel industry cannot produce enough steel to meet demand, meaning that US steel-users are seeing longer and longer delivery times from their steel US suppliers, contributing to uncertainty and lost business,” Nathanson said.

Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Mark Warner (D-VA), and Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Darin LaHood (D-IL) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the Bicameral Trade Authority Act. The bill proposes the following:

  1. Congress has 60 days to approve any proposed Section 232 actions: If Congress does not pass an approval resolution, the President’s proposed trade actions shall have no force or effect. Approval resolutions are privileged in both chambers and may not be filibustered. If not reported by committee within 10 days after introduction, resolutions must be discharged from committee.
  2. Restores national security intent to the Section 232 statute: Since 2001, the Department of Commerce has used a broad definition of national security to assess imports, explicitly including goods “beyond those necessary to satisfy national defense requirements” in its scope. The bill transfers investigative authority from Commerce to the Secretary of Defense. Commerce still determines the appropriate remedy in the event of a positive finding from Defense. The bill also defines “national security” and restricts Section 232 investigations to goods with applications in military equipment, energy resources, and/or critical infrastructure. These goods must also constitute a “substantial cause” of a threat to impair U.S. national security.
  3. Retroactive to Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs: If Congress does not pass an approval resolution within 75 days after enactment, Section 232 tariffs and quotas imposed within the last 4 years are repealed. 
  4. Requires the International Trade Commission (ITC) to administer an exclusion process for future Section 232 actions: Given current issues with backlog, pace, and transparency at Commerce, the ITC—with its subject matter expertise—is better positioned to administer future exclusions. Exclusions must be product-wide.  
  5. ITC reports: The bill directs the ITC to submit to Congress reports analyzing the industry-specific and downstream effects of any Section 232 actions taken within the past 4 years, in addition to any future Section 232 actions. 

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