CHICAGO — A key report in the US Commerce Department's Section 232 investigation into steel imports is nearly complete, a department spokesman said.
“The report, and any possible recommendations therein, are in the final stages of review,” the spokesman said in an email to AMM on July 12.
The spokesman did not say how long final reviews might take.
Commerce has said it is considering quotas, tariffs or a combination of the two to stem imports should the administration decide they pose a threat to national security.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in May that the department would complete its report by the end of June. That deadline was subsequently pushed back until after last week’s Group of 20 summit in Germany.
The fog around the timeline of the Section 232 probe has already had the impact of reducing orders from US buyers for foreign steel, one trader source told AMM. “That’s one thing the market doesn’t need is this uncertainty. That’s worse than anything else,” he said.
Few orders are coming in for material expected to arrive at US ports in September and October, the trader source said. He predicted that imports would begin to tail off in earnest in August after hitting a 29-month high last month.
Section 232 is part of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The Trump administration self-initiated its Section 232 case on steel imports in April. A separate case was launched into aluminum imports.
The department by law has 270 days from the start of the case to conclude a report determining whether imports threaten national security and, if they are deemed a threat, proposing actions to curtail them.
Once Commerce completes its report, the president must within 90 days decide whether he agrees with the department’s findings. Should the president agree that imports pose a threat, he then has another 15 days to decide what actions to take to combat them.
The president must also submit a report to Congress explaining his actions within 30 days of his decision.