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February 11, 2019

Legislation Would Rein In Administration’s Ability to Impose Tariffs

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Legislation introduced last week by both Democrats and Republicans would rein in any Administration’s ability to impose tariffs using Section 232 to those cases where there was a genuine national security threat.


The Trade Security Reform Act (TSRA) is being sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R, Ohio) and Doug Jones (D, Ala.) and Reps. Ron Kind (D, Wis.) and Jackie Walorski (R, Ind.). It would change the process in which any Administration imposes Section 232 tariffs.


The Trump Administration imposed Section 232 tariffs on Mexico and other countries last year on imports of steel and aluminum. In response, Mexico imposed tariffs on U.S. cheese and other products. Even though a U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement has since been reached, it has not been ratified by Congress and the tariffs remain in place.


The TSRA legislation would ensure that Section 232 tariffs were used only for true national defense security purposes, and it enhances the role of Congress in the Section 232 process.


The legislation is supported by both the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). “Dairy prices have steadily fallen since Mexico imposed its tariffs, harming farmers,” says Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO.


Adds Tom Vilsack, USDEC chairman and CEO: “Agriculture is being hurt by retaliatory tariffs; the bill’s sponsors should be applauded for finding a common-sense process to a complex issue. It protects one of the president’s tools to combat threats to our national security while allowing for the full consideration of true safety and economic factors at play.”