Apr 19, 2017

Trump to start his crackdown on steel dumping

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump plans to issue a memo Thursday calling for the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate whether steel imports hinder national security, as first reported by Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs. (Axios has confirmed Jacobs' reporting.)

Why it matters: By initiating investigations under the umbrella of "national security," Trump is creating a pretext for using extraordinary measures to crack down on steel dumping. This could complicate the U.S.-China relationship at a time when Trump is explicitly linking trade negotiations to China's behavior with North Korea, as China is the top culprit for dumping cheap steel into the American market.

Something else you should know: This memo is much, much, milder than some of the ideas that were initially kicked around inside the West Wing. An early concept pushed by Administration nationalists was to impose immediate supplemental 25% tariffs on a wide range of product categories they believed were being unfairly dumped into the United States such as industrial chemicals, household appliances, paper and tires.

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