Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Duties Litigation Shifts Into High Gear

As we pass the three-year mark since the 25 percent duties on steel imports and the 10 percent duties on aluminum imports pursuant to Section 232 were first imposed by Presidential Proclamation 9705, legal challenges are proliferating and there is renewed legislative interest in Section 232 reform. For those looking for any signs of a swift removal of the duties, the wait continues.

View Alert: Status of Section 232 and Section 301 Tariffs.

The Administration’s rapid decision to reinstate the Section 232 duties on aluminum imports from the United Arab Emirates within 13 days after they were removed by President Trump upon leaving office, shows no haste to change the status quo. And the comment by the new Secretary of Commerce that the duties have been “effective” signals no imminent decision to change. The Government continues to actively defend these broad duties before the reviewing courts and at the WTO in scores of cases questioning various aspects of their legality.   
Following the victory of Transpacific Steel LLC, which successfully struck down a presidential proclamation doubling the national security duties on steel imports from Turkey, interested parties have filed Court of International Trade (CIT) challenges on a range of issues stemming from the additional duties, including the extension of the duties to derivative products of steel and aluminum, the exclusion process managed by the Commerce Department (Commerce) and Commerce’s treatment of Section 232 duties in antidumping (AD) proceedings.

As some cases reach inflection points and a narrowing of the issues, we highlight legal challenges worth following, including a trio of recent decisions by the CIT that reviewed the Section 232 duties from different vantage points.  We also provide an update on the status of WTO litigation and recent legislative proposals for Section 232 reform. 

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