Trade Update (March 1)
USITC Rules No Injury in FSS Case
On Tuesday (Feb. 25), the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that U.S. industry was not materially injured or threatened with material injury from imports of fabricated structural steel (FSS) from Canada, China, and Mexico.
Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Jason E. Kearns and Randolph J. Stayin voted in the negative. Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein and Amy A. Karpel voted in the affirmative. As a result of the ITC’s determination, no antidumping or countervailing duties will be imposed on imports from Canada, China, or Mexico.
According to the product description, fabricated structural steel (FSS) products are fabricated from steel mill products for erection or assembly into structures, including, but not limited to, commercial buildings (commercial, office, institutional, and multifamily residential); industrial and utility projects; parking decks; arenas and convention centers; medical facilities; and ports, transportation, and infrastructure facilities. FSS products, whether assembled or partially assembled, may include fasteners and may be painted or coated.
The Commission will publish a public report that will be available on April 6.
Court Upholds Trump’s Section 232 Powers
On Friday (Feb. 28), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the constitutionality of President Trump’s decision to use tariffs on steel imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
A group of steel importers had challenged the duties, arguing that the administration’s use violated a constitutional prohibition against a transfer of powers.
In March 2019, the USITC upheld the constitutionality of the president’s use of the law and in June 2019, the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the March ruling, sending the case first to the federal appeals court.
The group of steel importers now plans to file a petition for the Supreme Court to review the latest decision. “We are hopeful that the [Supreme] Court will act before it adjourns in June,” said Alan Morrison, a George Washington University Law professor who is representing steel importers in their case against President Trump.
The case was filed by the American Institute for International Steel, stemming from President Trump’s imposition of 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum in March 2018.
Tariffs, Boeing-Airbus Loom over U.S. – EU Deal
Bernd Lange, Chair of the European Parliament’s Trade Committee, said on Thursday (Feb. 27) that outstanding tariffs on aluminum and steel must be resolved before the U.S. and European Union (EU) can reach a trade deal.
Lange added that President Trump’s looming decision whether to impose tariffs on European autos and auto parts will also play a major factor in whether or not a deal is made.
Lange pointed to steel and aluminum tariffs, the threat of automotive duties, the long-running Boeing-Airbus disagreement, and a dispute involving Spanish olives as four major problems standing in the way of full cooperation. He said the Europeans also feel that they have made a number of concessions since President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker struck a trade truce in July 2018. He cited the EU’s decisions to increase its soybean purchases and raise its import quota on hormone-free beef as two examples, adding that many European lawmakers do not feel they have seen the U.S. make similar gestures.
Canada’s House of Commons Approves USMCA
The House of Commons’ International Trade Committee approved legislation on Thursday to implement USMCA. The move paves way for the full House to consider the legislation next month.
 Rodriguez, Sabrina. “Trump wins again in court case against steel tariffs.” Politico Pro. 28 Feb.2020. https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2020/02/trump-wins-again-in-court-case-against-steel-tariffs-1885904
 Cassella, Megan. “European lawmaker ‘skeptical’ on future of U.S.-EU trade talks.” Politico. 27 Feb. 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/27/european-lawmaker-skeptical-on-future-of-us-eu-trade-talks-117998