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Import Restrictions Sought on Uranium Products

Friday, January 19, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Commerce has received a petition requesting an expedited section 232 investigation of uranium products. The petition asserts that “excessive levels of imports” of such products, particularly from China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan, are threatening U.S. national security by destroying the domestic uranium mining industry. As a result, the petition requests relief in the form of (1) a quota that would reserve 25 percent of the U.S. market for U.S. uranium and (2) a Buy America policy for U.S. government agencies that utilize uranium.

Section 232 investigations include consideration of factors such as the amount of domestic production needed for projected national defense requirements and whether imports impair the domestic industry’s ability to meet those needs, the effect of foreign competition on the domestic industry, and any detrimental impacts from the displacement of domestic products by excessive imports. 

If DOC initiates an investigation it would have up to 270 days to conclude it and submit its report and recommendations to the president. If the department concludes that uranium products are being imported in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair U.S. national security, and the president concurs (a decision he would have up to 90 days after the DOC’s report to make), the president would have broad authority to adjust imports, including through the use of tariffs and quotas. Any import adjustments, or any other non-trade-related actions the president may elect to take, would be imposed within 15 days of the president’s determination to act.

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