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U.S. Supreme Court Declines Fastener Tariff Appeal

U.S. Supreme Court Declines Fastener Tariff Appeal
October 30
13:02 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an American steel importer’s bid to invalidate tariffs on certain steel products based on the argument that former President Donald Trump exceeded his authority by imposing them in 2020, Reuters reports.

“The justices turned away an appeal by Irving, Texas-based PrimeSource Building Products of a lower court’s decision to uphold a 25% tariff on some steel derivatives, such as nails and fasteners, put in place by Trump on national security grounds and now defended by President Joe Biden’s administration,” wrote Reuters’ John Kruzel.

During Trump’s presidency, the U.S. placed multiple rounds of tariffs on steel products starting in 2018 when Trump invoked a Cold War-era trade law in ordering a 25% tariff on various imported steel articles including flat-rolled products, tubes and pipes. In January 2020, he ordered that the tariffs apply also to derivatives of the earlier-covered steel articles.

PrimeSource, St. Louis-based Huttig Building Products and Omani company Oman Fasteners challenged the tariffs on steel derivatives, “arguing that the U.S. Congress never granted the president broad power over foreign trade to impose them.”

The U.S. Court of International Trade struck down the steel derivatives tariffs in 2021, but in February the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed that decision, claiming presidents can impose “contingency-dependent” tariff increases to fulfill national security objectives.

In imposing steel tariffs in 2018, Trump invoked Section 232 of the Trade Act of 1962, which allows a U.S. president to restrict imports of goods critical to national security.

President Joe Biden’s administration had urged the Supreme Court not to take up the appeal.

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