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AIIS challenges constitutionality of 232 steel tariffs

Jun 27, 2018 | 02:46 PM | New York | Millicent Dent

Tags  American Institute for International Steel, AIIS, Section 232, lawsuit, Richard Chriss, AISI, American Iron and Steel Institute, Millicent Dent

The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) has filed a lawsuit disputing the constitutionality of the statute under which the United States' Section 232 tariff on steel imports was issued, the trade group said on Wednesday June 27.

Two of AIIS’ member companies – Waller, Texas-based Sim-Tex LP, and Burlingame, California-based Kurt Orban Partners – also joined in the lawsuit, which was filed in the US Court of International Trade in New York.

The AIIS and the two companies allege that the statute, Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, violates the constitutional prohibition against Congress delegating its legislative powers to the president because it does not contain any “intelligible principle” to limit the president’s decisions.

The lawsuit is seeking both a declaration that the statute used by President Donald Trump is unconstitutional and a court order stopping further enforcement of the tariff, the AIIS said.

“In addition to the totally open-ended choice of how to counter any threat that imports may present, Section 232 allows the president to consider virtually any effect on the US economy as part of ‘national security,'” AIIS president Richard Chriss said in a statement.

The AIIS also noted that the steel tariff has had a number of negative consequences on US businesses, including soaring steel prices. American Metal Market's hot-rolled coil index stands at $45.52 per hundredweight ($910.40 per ton), up by 39.5% from $32.63 per cwt at the start of this year. 

But another trade group asserts that AIIS’ legal challenge lacks merit. “Congress acted within its constitutional authority when it authorized the president to take action to adjust imports when the secretary of commerce has determined that such imports threaten to impact the national security,” American Iron and Steel Institute president and chief executive officer Thomas J. Gibson said in a statement. 


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