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Trump's own words put his trade policy in jeopardy

Sam Jayne / Axios

President Trump wants to invoke a national security provision to stop the "dumping" of cheap steel into America, but trade lawyers believe Trump's public statements —and dubious legal reasoning — could expose the administration to significant legal problems.

  • The White House's rhetoric: The administration in April identified dumping as the impetus for Trump "standing up" for the steel and aluminum industries.
  • Trump last week on Air Force One:"They're dumping steel and destroying our steel industry, they've been doing it for decades, and I'm stopping it."
  • Why it matters: International trade experts, including NYU Law professor Robert Howse, told Axios that Trump made a big mistake by identifying "dumping" as his basis for imposing retaliatory tariffs on national security grounds. There are already laws on the books to remedy dumping, and if Trump invokes the national security provision to impose new tariffs, other nations will immediately challenge him because they're operating under a World Trade Organization agreement that has no national security exceptions.