Congress wants input in trade tariff use

Bipartisan legislation reintroduced in Senate to restore authority over “national security” tariffs.


Jacqui Fatka, National Hog Farmer

Oct 06, 2021


Trade disputes during the Trump era saw the resurrection of “national security” tariffs such as Section 232 tariffs authorized by the President and executive branch. A new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate would prevent potential president abuse of the tariffs.


The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act would make any presidential-proposed tariffs or quotas applied for national security purposes (via Section 232 authority) subject to review and approval by Congress prior to going into effect.


Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, Congress conditionally delegated certain tariff and quota authority to the executive branch in the event an import is a threat to national security. Historically, Section 232 investigations have been rare and have infrequently resulted in imposition of tariffs – prior to 2018, a president last took action under Section 232 in 1986.


However, the previous administration used Section 232 widely, unilaterally imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum and conducting investigations into six additional products. In the 60-year history of the Section 232, approximately one-fourth of investigations have occurred in only the last four years...