This note examines the following question: to what extent has the Trump administration heralded an expansion of presidential trade powers with respect to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962? It proceeds by first providing an overview of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It then looks at the Section 232 investigations which (a) preceded Trump’s assumption of office and (b) resulted in presidential trade action. After reviewing the aforementioned investigations, this note examines the Section 232 investigations initiated under the Trump administration. Attention is paid to how the Trump administration has defined ‘national security’ more broadly. The implications of adopting an expanded understanding of ‘national security’ are examined at various points throughout this note, and the note advances the notion that the president’s authority under Section 232 warrants curtailment via congressional oversight. Alternatives to Section 232 duties which the United States might consider in the future are also briefly examined. This note ultimately concludes that although the Trump administration is not heralding an expansion of presidential trade powers with respect to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the broad definition of ‘national security’ adopted by it has resulted in the premature imposition of Section 232 duties. Such misuse heightens the risk that the international community will perceive the United States’ actions under Section 232 as having roots in protectionism as opposed to in national security concerns.
One Nation under Trump: More Power to Him?,
28 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.miami.edu/umblr/vol28/iss1/6