President Donald Trump is ramping up his tougher “America First” trade policy with plans to revive a decades-old, rarely used law to explore imposing new barriers on steel imports, the White House said on Wednesday night.
Mr. Trump plans a signing event at noon Thursday to mark a special investigation under the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which allows emergency trade sanctions on “national security” grounds, according to an administration statement.
The statement didn’t elaborate on the specific nature of the investigation, but people familiar with the matter said it would focus on steel imports, and that representatives of the steel industry would attend the ceremony. Another person familiar with the planned announcement said it could include other products deemed “important to defense.”
The U.S. government hasn’t used the law to impose penalties since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995, which discourages such unilateral sanctions. The law was most famously used by President Richard Nixon in 1971 to impose an across-the-board 10% import surcharge to contain the U.S. trade deficit at the time.
This will result in net fewer jobs in America and a direct transfer of wealth from the majority of the American people to the government and favored industry.