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New Bill Would Reform National Security Tariff Process

A new bill introduced in the Senate on 1 August would require the U.S. Department of Defense to justify the national security basis for new tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

A new bill introduced in the Senate on 1 August would require the U.S. Department of Defense to justify the national security basis for new tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 . According to a press release from sponsor Sen. Rob Portman (Republican-Ohio), the Trade Security Act “addresses concerns that misuse of Section 232 will harm jobs and the economy and likely result in a loss of this trade remedy tool, either at the hands of a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel or as the result of other congressional action.”

Highlights of the bill include the following.

  • splits the existing Section 232 process into an investigation phase, led by the DoD, and a remedy phase, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • requires the DoD, instead of the DOC, to justify the national security basis for new Section 232 tariffs and make the determination about the national security threat posed by imports of certain products
  • allows Congress to disapprove of a Section 232 action for imports of any type of products (not just oil, as under the current law) by passing a joint resolution of disapproval
  • requires consultation with Congress throughout the Section 232 process
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