Federal Circuit Examines the Scope of Presidential Tariff Authority [July 21, 2021]   [open pdf - 684KB]

From the Document: "In response to perceived unfair trade practices of other countries, the Trump Administration imposed tariffs [hyperlink] and other trade restrictions on billions of dollars of imported products using authority that Congress delegated to the executive branch in various provisions [hyperlink] of federal law. To justify the trade measures, the Trump Administration cited national security concerns, injury to competing domestic industries, and allegedly unfair trade practices of particular countries (e.g., China's practices [hyperlink] with respect to intellectual property rights). The Biden Administration has kept most of these tariffs in place. [...] In 'Transpacific Steel LLC v. United States' [hyperlink], a U.S. company sought a partial refund of duties it paid on certain steel imports from Turkey. The imports were subject to tariffs that the President imposed under Section 232 [hyperlink] of the Trade Expansion Act (the Act). In a decision granting the company's motion for judgment on the agency record, the CIT held that the President's power to impose tariffs under Section 232(b), while broad, is not unlimited. Specifically, the court held that the President must closely adhere to the statute's procedural requirements, including deadlines for action, when exercising such authority. On July 13, 2021, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals overturned [hyperlink] the CIT's decision. The Circuit Court held that the President did not violate Section 232's procedures when increasing tariffs on Turkish steel. This Sidebar explores the Federal Circuit's decision in more detail. The Sidebar begins with an examination of the decision's background. It concludes with an examination of the potential implications of the Federal Circuit's decision for future tariff actions under Section 232 and similar statutes granting the President power over foreign commerce."

Report Number:
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB1062
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
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