Swiss Steel Exporter Sues US for Unconstitutional Section 232 Tariffs

(Excerpts from World Trade Online, March 29, Isabelle Hoagland)

Severstal Export GmbH, a Swiss exporter of steel, and its US affiliate, Severstal Export Miami, are suing the Trump administration at the US Court of International Trade (CIT) for the unlawful imposition of tariffs and arguing the restrictions should not impact steel shipments already in transit.

The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief against the imposition of the steel tariffs and a “declaration that those tariffs are unconstitutional because they are not tied to the interest of protective national, security.”

The plaintiffs argue that, “Since the asserted national security grounds were a thinly veiled pretext for the President’s political agenda and his America First economic policy, the Steel Proclamation is unconstitutional and should be struck down.” The complaint states that the president acted beyond the trade authority delegated to him by Congress via Section 232.

One trade lawyer said many companies have examined the possibility of challenging the Section 232 tariffs but pointed to a recent decision made by the CIT denying a request by three Canadian solar panel producers for a suspension of safeguard measures the US imposed on all countries in January.