President Donald J. Trump has completed his first 100 days in office and thus far has signed into law 28 pieces of legislation.
While Trump has made traction in some respects, the fate of the nation’s steel industry was still up in the air — that is, until Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum in late April calling on Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to prioritize an investigation into the effects of steel imports on U.S. national security.
Here are three things you should know about this directive and what it could mean for the nation’s steel industry.
The Trade Expansion Act of 1962
The investigation is being conducted under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. According to the Department of Commerce, Ross is tasked with determining the following:
- “Whether steel imports cause American workers to lose jobs needed to meet security requirements of the domestic steel industry;
- Any negative effects of steel imports on government revenue; and
- Any harm steel imports cause to the economic welfare of the U.S.”
The Current Situation
Despite an existing steel industry, steel imports saw a 19.6% year-over-year increase in February, and, currently, imported steel accounts for 26% of the U.S. market share, according to the Department of Commerce.
Further, the U.S. steel industry is only operating at 71% capacity, and jobs in the industry has continued to take a steady hit. Read more