Arent Fox Files Suit Opposing National Security Duties Assessed on Steel from Turkey
In March 2018, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation titled “Adjusting Imports of Steel Into the United States,” Proclamation No. 9705, imposing 25 percent ad valorem tariffs on US imports of certain steel products pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Section 232 authorizes the President to impose restrictions on certain imports following an investigation that concludes that the targeted products are being imported into the United States “in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security.”
Later, in August 2018, President Trump issued a new proclamation titled “Adjusting Imports of Steel Into the United States,” Proclamation 9772, imposing a 50 percent ad valorem duty on steel articles imported from Turkey. Proclamation 9772 had the effect of doubling the tariffs on steel products from Turkey alone, while tariffs on all other steel imports from worldwide sources remained unchanged.
“Proclamation 9772 requires our clients to pay a 50 percent ad valorem duty on steel articles imported from Turkey,” said International Trade Partner Matthew M. Nolan. “We are arguing that this action is unconstitutional, exceeds the President’s authority under the statute, and inflicts economic and competitive harm on our clients who are importers of steel products from Turkey. The President announced this action via tweet without investigation, review or analysis of Turkish imports. Had he done so he would have seen that Turkish imports had already declined over 50 percent in 2018, more than any other country subject to 232 duties. Even if Turkish imports fell to zero, the stated national security objectives could not be achieved. These 50 percent duties have nothing to do with protecting national security or ensuring US steel capacity.”
The suit further argues that equal protection of US laws is guaranteed by the due process requirement of the Fifth Amendment. The Administration’s action of doubling the tariff only on steel imports from Turkey discriminates between similarly situated US importers by selectively imposing an additional burden only on those that import steel from one country. The suit asks that the Trump Administration be prevented from implementing Proclamation 9772, and that US Customs and Border Protection be ordered to issue refunds for tariffs paid on their imports from Turkey.
The Court will now assign the case to one or more Judges at the CIT and schedule briefing after the government reopens.
Arent Fox Partners Matthew M. Nolan, Nancy A. Noonan, and Diana Dimitriuc Quaia are providing counsel to Medtrade, Concrete Reinforcing Products, and Transpacific Steel, all steel importers. Arent Fox’s globally recognized International Trade practice advises clients on customs/import compliance, global trade policy, international trade litigation, export controls and sanctions, and international anti-corruption and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.