The Bureau of Industry and Security announced September 21, 2021 its self-initiation of an investigation under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine whether U.S. national security is being harmed by imports of neodymium-ironboron (NdFeB) permanent magnets. These are sometimes referred to as neodymium magnets, neo magnets, or rare earth magnets.
BIS states that numerous critical national security systems rely on these magnets, including fighter aircraft and missile guidance systems. The magnets are also essential components of critical infrastructure, including electric vehicles and wind turbines, and are used in computer hard drives, audio equipment, and MRI devices.
Comments on this investigation are due by Nov. 12. Among other things BIS is interested in the quantity of subject magnets being imported and the impact of foreign competition on the economic welfare of domestic producer
BIS has up to 270 days to conclude this investigation and submit its recommendations to the president. If BIS (which must consult with the Department of Defense) finds that excessive imports of these goods are a threat to U.S. national security, and the president concurs, the president has the authority to adjust imports, including through the use of tariffs and quotas. Any such actions would be imposed within 15 days of the president’s determination to act.