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U.S. steel import probe findings sent to Trump

Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday said it sent President Donald Trump the results of its probe into whether steel imports threaten U.S. national security, but declined to reveal any details of its recommendations.

In a statement that offered no insight into the investigation’s conclusions, the Commerce Department said Trump now has 90 days to decide “on any potential action.”

The probe could lead to broad tariffs or import quotas.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement that Trump would announce his decision “at the appropriate time.”

Trump opened the “Section 232” investigation in April. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross set an internal deadline of end-June for announcing his recommendations, but an announcement was delayed for a Group of 20 summit and bilateral talks with China in July.

Trump said later in July that a final decision could wait until other top priority issues on his agenda were addressed, including healthcare and taxes.

The investigation was kept under wraps at the Commerce Department, but the agency faced a Monday statutory deadline to present its report to the White House. A similar national security probe into aluminum imports invoking the same Cold War-era trade law is due on Jan. 22.

“Although the report is not yet public, we believe that the investigation findings will confirm what domestic steelmakers already know. Imports of certain steel products to the United States should be restricted on national security grounds,” said Philip Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association.

In a statement, Bell called for “broad, meaningful and impactful” remedies that reduce the volumes of subsidized and dumped foreign steel products.

Trump has promised he would take action to protect steelworkers from imports. But potential broad tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum have been the subject of intense debate in the White House, among officials who favor more aggressive restrictions and pro-business factions that favor a more cautious approach to avoid a run-up in steel prices or disruptions to U.S. allies.Speech

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