In 2018, the Trump Administration imposed additional tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports from certain countries under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. Citing concerns that foreign steel and aluminum imports were entering the United States in quantities and conditions that might "impair the national security of the United States," the President levied these tariffs with the stated goal that domestic producers' capacity utilization would stabilize at or above an 80 percent capacity utilization target level.

On January 24, 2020 – noting that the 80 percent target had not been achieved – President Trump issued Presidential Proclamation 9980 announcing that effective February 8, 2020, the existing Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel imports will also apply to certain derivative products of aluminum and steel as described in Annex I and Annex II of the proclamation. The tariffs will extend to derivative products in part because "foreign producers of these derivative articles have increased shipments of such articles to the United States to circumvent the duties on aluminum articles and steel articles." The proclamation also states that the derivative products have shown a recent history of increased imports, and that the metals account for at least two-thirds of the product's cost.

The expanded scope of the Section 232 tariffs

The expanded Section 232 tariffs will take effect for all affected articles entered or withdrawn from a warehouse for consumption on or after 12:01 am EST, on February 8, 2020. The steel derivatives tariffs will apply to imports from all counties except Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. The aluminum derivatives tariffs will apply to imports from all countries except Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Mexico.

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