Following Hearing with Commerce Secretary, Bennet Introduces Bill to Reverse Harmful Tariffs on Allies

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today introduced legislation to reverse the tariffs President Trump imposed on all steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and European Union countries.

“These tariffs target our allies, do nothing to stop China from undercutting American steel workers, and subject Colorado’s farmers, businesses, and families to potential retaliation,” Bennet said. “Congress delegated to the president tools to address unfair trade practices that hurt American workers, but these tools should not be used to start a reckless trade war with our closest allies.”

During yesterday’s Senate Committee on Finance hearing, Bennet questioned Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross about the tariffs, asking: “What is the national security rationale for putting a tariff on the Canadian steel industry with whom we have a trade surplus?”

A video of Bennet’s remarks is available HERE.

Bill Background

The legislation would restore tariff rates on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and European Union countries to levels that prevailed prior to the President’s May 31 order imposing 25 percent tariffs on all steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on all aluminum imports from those countries. It would not change the authority Congress delegated to the President under existing trade enforcement laws, allowing President Trump and future presidents to use trade enforcement tools to address global overcapacity issues in steel and other industries and to impose tariffs for national security reasons, when justified. The bill would add a requirement for the Secretary of Commerce to consult with the Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence—in addition to the Secretary of Defense—on the national security implications of any proposed tariffs before they go into effect. It also would enhance congressional oversight by requiring additional consultation with Congress before an administration imposes remedies based on national security. The bill was originally filed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.

The bill text is available HERE.