The United States is working on a plan to lift tariffs from Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum while still maintaining economic gains acquired by domestic companies.
“What I’m trying to do is have a practical solution to a real problem … get rid of tariffs on these two, let them maintain their historic access to the U.S. market which I think will allow us to still maintain the benefit of the steel and aluminum program,” said U.S. trade representative Robert Lightizer to the U.S. senate finance committee at a hearing about the World Trade Organization.
The U.S. imposed Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium imports a year ago citing national security concerns. There was talk of addressing the measure during renegotiations of the NAFTA deal, but that never came to fruition.
As NAFTA’s replacement, the USMCA, which is being examined and debated by lawmakers in each country, has led some American congressmen to express concerns that the USMCA might not pass unless the tariffs are lifted.
Using Sec. 232 for climate change
Politico is reporting a measure submitted by Rep. Bill Pascrell that would use Sec. 232 to include carbon emissions as a threat to national security.
“Clearly, carbon dioxide emissions are exacerbated by international trade and imports to the United States. This carbon pollution threatens agricultural markets and infrastructure, among other sectors of our economy, which commerce should investigate with the urgency and gravity that this emergency warrants,” Pascrell wrote in a draft letter.
Challenging Sec. 232
Legal challenges to Sec. 232 have already begin in the Court of International Trade, according to Politico. It’s been three months since the court heard arguments against the steel tariffs.
“That would be a reasonable period of time [for the court to decide]. They understand the importance of it, and they also understand that people are being injured,” said Alan Morrison, a George Washington University professor who is representing steel importers in their case.
Morrison noted that no matter how the court rules the decision will probably end up in front of the Supreme Court.