By Stephen Barlas
Now the focus on the use of foreign steel in U.S. products is on the de- fense industry. President Trump expanded his war against imported steel with a second presidential memorandum citing national security concerns. This followed
his first focusing on foreign steel used in energy pipelines.
The Commerce Department plans to make recommendations on implementation of this second memorandum. It wants to take a closer look at foreign
overcapacity, dumping, illegal subsidies, and other factors as it tries to determine whether steel imports threaten American economic security and military
A recent Department of Defense Inspector General report found that the Air
Force inconsistently enforced Buy American requirements and purchased foreign-made goods.;Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, the president
has broad power to adjust imports—including through the use of tari;s—if excessive foreign imports are found to be a threat to U.S. national security.
The U.S. is relatively unusual in that it has no tari;s on steel but has had to
impose antidumping or countervailing duties in over 150 cases, with 13 more
currently pending. President Trump discussed and signed the executive order
at Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wis.
The objective of the process is for all federal agencies that have Buy American
laws to detail how they are monitoring, enforcing, and implementing those laws.
A particular focus of that e;ort is on identifying when waivers from the various
laws are issued. The agency reports must be submitted to the Commerce Department secretary and the O;ice of Management and Budget director within 150
days (or by Sept. 15). Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will submit specific recommendations to strengthen implementation of Buy American laws by Nov. 24.
Waivers of Buy American laws also concern Democrats in Congress. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has introduced a bill, for instance, called the Make It In
EPA Wants to Ban TCE in Vapor Degreasing
Numerous metalworking sectors would be a;ected by the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to prohibit the manufacture, import, processing, and
distribution of products containing trichloroethylene (TCE), commonly used in
According to the EPA, the chemical poses an unreasonable risk to human
health. The agency made this decision a;er subjecting the chemical to a risk
review under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Alternatives to TCE with
similar performance characteristics are readily available, the agency concluded.
Most of the costs of the rule would be borne by commercial users of TCE in
vapor degreasing equipment, because they would have to switch solvents and
likely equipment as well. The EPA has estimated that the costs to users range
from $32 million to $46 million over 20 years.
Read more from Stephen Barlas at www.thefabricator.com/author/stephen-barlas
Trump’s “Buy American” campaign
extends to defense
Plans to shore up these efforts to be delivered in the fall
The Small Business Administration’s O;ice of Advocacy has urged the EPA to
withdraw the proposed rule because of questions about its risk assessment,
particularly the EPA’s reliance on a single study which is “unreproducible,” according to the o;ice. Despite a number of its objections, the o;ice said if the
EPA moves forward, it should not apply its ban to closed-loop vapor degreasing
TCE has specific properties that can make its use necessary. Banning TCE’s
use in vapor degreasing would eliminate entire product lines for some small
businesses and lead to very significant costs, according to the SBA’s Advocacy
O;ice. Exempting the relatively safe enclosed vapor degreasers would allow
these product lines to continue, while the risks are managed in a responsible
Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov
Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov
U.S. Department of Commerce, www.commerce.gov
U.S. Department of Defense, O;ice of Inspector General, www.dodig.mil
A recent Department of Defense Inspector General
report found that the Air Force inconsistently
enforced Buy American requirements and
purchased foreign-made goods.