Late last month, President Trump instructed the Department of Commerce to initiate an investigation into foreign steel mills. He did so under a statute from 1962, Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. The goal of this investigation is to see if steel from foreign mills is considered a threat to national security.
Once the investigation was initiated, the Department of Commerce, with the help of the Department of Defence, has 270 days to determine if importing steel into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances is a threat to national security.
Although the ruling has not yet been issued, the steel markets have already started to react. Many foreign steel mills have stopped taking orders from US-based companies and US mills have announced an increase in steel prices.
This increase in steel prices will undoubtedly have an impact on the cost of building and construction materials. However, we won’t know the full impact until the ruling is handed down.