Pittsburgh — The US Department of Commerce has initiated a Section 232 tariff investigation into imports of vanadium, citing possible damage of such imports to domestic industry and security, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said June 2.
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"Vanadium is utilized in our national defense and critical infrastructure, and is integral to certain aerospace applications," Ross said in a statement. "We will conduct a thorough, fair and transparent investigation to determine whether vanadium imports threaten to impair US national security."
US-based AMG Vanadium and US Vanadium filed a petition in November requesting an investigation of such imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
Representatives for the two petitioners could not immediately be reached for comment June 2.
"The petitioners assert that domestic industry is adversely impacted by unfairly traded low-priced imports, limited export markets due to value-added tax regimes in other vanadium producing countries and the distortionary effect of Chinese and Russian industrial policies," Commerce said.
Commerce said vanadium is designated a strategic and critical material due to its use as a metal alloy in national defense and critical infrastructure end-uses such as aircraft, jet engines, missiles, energy storage, pipelines, buildings and bridges.
In reference to national security aerospace applications, Commerce said vanadium is a key component due to its strength-to-weight ratio. US vanadium demand for these applications is supplied entirely through imports, the department added.
About 80% of global vanadium supply is used as a steel alloy, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security will conduct the investigation and provide the opportunity for public comment through July 20.