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Arent Fox Secures Trade Court Win for Security Tariffs on Steel from Turkey

WASHINGTON, DC – On November 15, the US Court of International Trade denied the Trump Administration’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an importer challenging the government’s use of a Cold War-era trade law to double national security tariffs on steel imports from Turkey.

A link to the decision is here.

Arent Fox LLP, on behalf of Transpacific Steel LLC, filed the lawsuit before the CIT in January 2019, arguing that the increase in tariffs was unlawful under the statute and violated the due process and equal protection requirements under the US Constitution. International Trade attorneys Matthew M. Nolan, Nancy A. Noonan, Diana Quaia, Aman Kakar, Russell A. Semmel, and Jason Rotstein are advising the steel importer.
 
In denying the government’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, Transpacific prevailed on both procedural and equal protection grounds. CIT Judge Claire R. Kelly wrote, on behalf of the three-judge panel: “The President’s expansive view of his power under Section 232 is mistaken and at odds with the language of the statute, its legislative history, and its purpose.” The Court added: “it is difficult to imagine Presidential action in connection with Section 232 where one would be at a loss to conjure a rational justification” for imposing 50 percent duties on Turkey, “yet the reality of this case proves otherwise.” “[W]e also cannot sustain a classification for which there is no offered — or even possible — rational justification tethered to the statute.”
 
In March 2018, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation titled “Adjusting Imports of Steel Into the United States,” which imposed 25 percent ad valorem tariffs on US imports of certain steel products, pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Five months later, the administration doubled the Turkish steel tariff to 50 percent, before eventually lowering the tariffs back to 25 percent. The importer is seeking compensation for the additional duties that were paid.
 
Chambers Global recognizes Arent Fox’s International Trade practice and its attorneys as industry leaders. The group represents and advises domestic and foreign companies and government entities in a broad range of cross-border matters, including customs/import compliance, global trade policy, international trade litigation, international anti-corruption, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and export controls and sanctions.

About Arent Fox
Founded in 1942, Arent Fox is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and the law intersect. With more than 450 lawyers and professionals, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to a global roster of corporations, governments, and trade associations.

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