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US steel users file legal challenge to Trump’s tariffs (FT)

29 June 2018


Subtitle: “Move is part of growing backlash by US business groups and pro-trade Republicans”

“A group of steel users has filed the biggest legal challenge so far to steel tariffs imposed by Donald Trump earlier this year.

In a suit filed with the US Court of International Trade in New York on Wednesday the American Institute for International Steel and two of its member companies argue that the US president’s move is unconstitutional and challenge his invocation of a 1962 law to impose the 25 per cent tariff on grounds of national security. 

The group says the Cold War law itself that Mr Trump employed to levy the duties amounts to an unconstitutional delegation of Congress’ trade powers to US presidents. 

The move comes amid a growing pushback by US business groups and pro-trade Republicans in Congress against Mr Trump’s tariffs and the resulting trade wars with China as well as allies in the EU. 

The cost of those trade wars has been illustrated this week by Harley-Davidson’s decision to shift production outside of the US to avoid EU retaliatory tariffs. 

Beyond the tariffs on steel and aluminium Mr Trump is due to start collecting import taxes on $34bn in trade from China next week. He also is threatening a 20 per cent tariff on auto imports from the EU under the same national security provision used for the steel tariffs. 

Some pro-trade Republicans with backing from the US Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are pushing to rein in Mr Trump’s ability to impose tariffs without the approval of Congress. 

Republican leaders in Congress, however, have so far been reluctant to take on the president over one of his signature issues. 

Under Article 1 of the US constitution Congress has responsibility for regulating US international commerce. But the legislative branch has, over decades, steadily delegated more and more trade powers, including in the 1962 law Mr Trump invoked for his metals tariffs.”



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