Transpacific Steel LLC v. United States, No. 20-2157 (Fed. Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Under 19 U.S.C. 1862, if the President receives, and agrees with, a finding by the Secretary of Commerce that imports of an article threaten to impair national security, the President shall take action to alleviate the threat. Section 1862(c)(1) specifies a period within which the President is to concur or disagree with the Secretary’s finding and to determine the necessary action and another period within which the President is thereafter to implement the chosen action.
In January 2018, the Secretary found that imports of steel threatened to impair national security by causing domestic steel-production capacity to be used less than the level needed for operation of the plants to be profitably sustained. In March 2018, within the period prescribed, the President agreed with that finding and announced a plan (Proclamation 9705) that imposed some tariffs immediately, announced negotiations with specified nations, and stated that the immediate measures might be adjusted as necessary. Within months, the President determined that imports were still too high to meet the Secretary’s identified target and raised the tariff on steel from Turkey, Proclamation 9772.
The Trade Court found Proclamation 9772 unlawful. The Federal Circuit reversed. The President did not depart from the Secretary’s finding of a national-security threat; the March 2018 presidential action announced a continuing course of action that could include adjustments. The President’s decision to take one of several possible steps to achieve the goal of increasing utilization of domestic steel plants’ capacity for national security reasons meets the rational-basis standard.