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Secretary Ross: Steel imported in U.S. is security threat

Staff Writer |
The Commerce Department is urging President Donald Trump to impose tariffs or quotas on imported aluminum and steel, which it calls a national security threat.

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The recommendations unveiled by Secretary Wilbur Ross are likely to escalate tensions with China and other U.S. trading partners. Stepped-up foreign production of steel and aluminum, especially by China, has driven down prices and hurt American producers.

The Commerce Department is recommending tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports, higher tariffs on imports from specific countries or a quota on imports.

The measures are meant to increase U.S. production to 80 percent of capacity in both industries. U.S. steel plants are running at 73 percent of capacity and aluminum plants at 48 percent.

Trump has to make a decision on steel by April 11 and on aluminum by April 19.

Last year, the president ordered an investigation into whether aluminum and steel imports posed a threat to national defense. Ross said: "In each case, the imports threaten to impair our national security."

He said, for example, that only one U.S. company now produces a high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aircraft.

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