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US coalition urges lawmakers to include steel, aluminum tariff sunset provision in Section 232 legislation

Pittsburgh — The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users on Tuesday asked US lawmakers serving on the Senate Finance Committee, urging the committee to include a sunset provision for the US Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum in any future tariff reform legislation considered by the committee.

"Reforming the 232 statute without allowing for an end to the current steel and aluminum tariffs would ensure that this harm continues with no end in sight," CAMMU said in a letter. "Reform legislation that mandates congressional oversight over future 232 cases while ignoring ongoing actions undermines the basic premise of any legislative action to restore the constitutional authority of Congress."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has been working on a bill that would restore Congress' role in imposing tariffs under Section 232, though nothing formal has been proposed to the Senate.

Under the current system, the Department of Commerce conducts Section 232 investigations and if it finds that imports of a certain good are a threat to national security, the president is then is able to implement trade actions such as tariffs or quotas without approval from Congress.

US President Donald Trump's administration used Section 232 in March 2018 when it introduced tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports. CAMMU, which represents more than 30,000 companies in the manufacturing sector and downstream supply chains, was set up in the wake of the Section 232 metals tariffs to oppose the trade measure.

-- Justine Coyne, justine.coyne@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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