Washington D.C.- The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a petition for certiorari in the case of American Institute for International Steel v. United States, a legal challenge to the constitutionality of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, the law used by the Administration to impose national security tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
“The NFTC filed this brief today to underscore an important pillar of the Constitution – that only Congress has the power to regulate foreign commerce. Under our Constitution, the President is only supposed to have authority to raise tariffs in clearly defined situations and only to a limited extent,” said Rufus Yerxa, President of the NFTC. “His use of Section 232 to impose sweeping and open-ended tariffs on steel and aluminum is proof that the statute itself is too broad and too vague to withstand a Constitutional test.”
The brief, filed by the NFTC on behalf of its 100 member companies who collectively represent a significant portion of U.S. manufacturing and exports, argues that that the actions taken on steel and aluminum demonstrate that this statute violates Constitutional norms relating to delegation of Congressional powers to the President because:
- The recent 232 actions profoundly damage U.S. national interests;
- The recent 232 actions are beyond anything that has been considered by the Court in the past; and
- Section 232 has none of the restrictions that characterize other provisions granting Presidential tariff authority
“The Court should not allow any President to exercise unfettered power over entire sectors of trade simply by invoking the words ‘national security,’ Yerxa added. “This law needs to be redrawn to require a higher standard and allow disruptive trade actions only when justified by real security concerns rather than protectionist pressures.”
NFTC retained Keith Bradley, of Squire Patton Boggs, as outside counsel on the brief.
For a backgrounder on the brief, click here
For a full copy of the brief, click here
About the NFTC
Serving America’s Global Businesses Since 1914– The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules- based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves its member companies through its office in Washington D.C.
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