U.S. Commerce Department submits report to Trump on imported aluminum probe

Updated 2018-01-23 10:54:02 Xinhua

The U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed Monday that it has reported to President Donald Trump on the national security implications of aluminum imports, of which the department declined to reveal any details.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross submitted the report to Trump on Friday, the department said in a statement, adding that "by law the president has 90 days to decide on any potential action based on the findings of the investigation."

Last April, the department launched the so-called Section 232 investigations on imported aluminum products, a rarely-used trade tool to limit imports on the grounds of protecting national security.

It's not clear whether the Trump administration will take actions, either immediately upon receiving the report or after three months, which could lead to legal challenges at the World Trade Organization.

At a public hearing on U.S. aluminum imports at the Commerce Department in June, Li Xie, director of export division one at China's Ministry of Commerce, said that imported aluminum products do not impair U.S. national security or the American economy.

"The amount of aluminum required by national defense is small, accounting for less than two percent of the U.S. total domestic consumption of aluminum," he said.

Aluminum products imported into the United States from China are mostly general and medium-end products with civilian applications, while conversely, aluminum products imported into China from the U.S. market are mostly high value-added thick plates used in automobile and airplane structural components, according to China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association.

"Aluminum products from China and U.S.-made aluminum products are highly complementary," the Chinese industry association said, opposing the imposition of trade or investment restrictions on the grounds of national security.

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