U.S. trade court: Presidential proclamation imposing tariffs on steel “derivatives” held invalid

U.S. trade court

The U.S. Court of International Trade today granted summary judgment for a U.S. importer of steel nails that contested a January 2020 presidential proclamation (Proclamation 9980) that imposed 25% tariffs on various imported products made of steel (“derivatives of steel products” including steel nails) under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

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The importer argued that Proclamation 9980 was issued beyond the statutory time limits set forth in Section 232 because the proclamation was issued after the expiration of the 105-day time period set forth in Section 232(c)(1)—that is, then-President Trump issued the proclamation regarding steel derivative articles at a date that was more than 105 days after a January 2018 report by the U.S. Commerce Department on the effects of certain steel imports on the national security of the United States. The trade court essentially agreed and granted summary judgment for the importer.

The case is: Primesource Building Products, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. No. 21-36 (CIT April 5, 2021). Read the trade court’s opinion [PDF 540 KB]

Summary

The trade court in January 2021 dismissed four of five claims by the importer challenging Proclamation 9980. The trade court did not dismiss a claim that the proclamation was invalid because it had been issued in violation of the time limits specified in Section 232. Read TradeNewsFlash

The trade court today granted summary judgment in favor of the importer, finding that Proclamation 9980 was invalid because the president had issued the proclamation after expiration of the congressionally delegated authority to adjust imports of the products addressed in the specific proclamation.

The trade court also directed that entries affected by this litigation be liquidated without the assessment of duties pursuant to Proclamation 9980; that any deposits collected for such customs duties be refunded; and that there be reliquidation of any entries that may have been liquidated with assessment of the 25% duties with a refund of any duties deposited or paid, with interest.


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