"The Department of Commerce is currently conducting two investigations to determine the national security implications of U.S. imports of steel and aluminum under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. § 1862, as amended). Section 232, sometimes called the 'national security clause,' provides the President with the ability to impose restrictions on imports, such as tariffs or quotas, if the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Department of Defense and other government officials, determines such imports threaten to impair the national security of the United States. The Commerce Department has 270 days from the initiation date to prepare a report and recommendations. The President then has 90 days to accept the findings and determine what actions, if any, to take. There are diverse views on the investigations among steel and aluminum producers, manufacturers that use steel and aluminum as inputs into their final products, and other stakeholders. To date, the Commerce Department has held public hearings on the steel and aluminum investigations, Members of Congress have raised the issue with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, including during House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committee hearings, and Commerce Department officials privately have briefed each of the committees."
CRS Insight, IN10742
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html