Dear Secretary Ross,
I am writing in regards to the Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce, dated April 20, 2017, which directs an “investigation under section 232(b)(1)(A) of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (the "Act") (19 U.S.C. 1862(b)(1)(A)) to determine the effects on national security of steel imports and the Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce, dated April 27, 2017, which directs an “investigation under section 232(b)(1)(A) of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (the "Act") (19 U.S.C. 1862(b)(1)(A)) to determine the effects on national security of aluminum imports.
I appreciate the President’s commitment to America’s security and his commitment to assuring a level playing field for American manufacturing. However, I am concerned that the scope of this investigation could include steel and aluminum that has no national security application, such as tinplate steel, rolled can sheet, and the primary aluminum and ingot that is milled into rolled can sheet, food and beverage containers, lids, and closures. These products are principally produced outside of the United States because the remaining U.S. smelters largely make more profitable aluminum and steel products domestically. Because of this, companies that use these products largely depend on imports in order to make aluminum cans and bottles. Our dependence on the imports of these products is not recent. In fact, the U.S. has been in this deficit trade position with these products since the end of World War II.
I am concerned that if these products are included within the scope of the Section 232 investigation, it will result in the loss of good paying manufacturing jobs, both in Wisconsin and in other states around the nation, along with higher prices for the American consumer.
I understand that this consequence would be unintended. Not all aluminum and steel is the same, and the distinction of tinplate steel, rolled can sheet, and primary and ingot used for food and beverage containers, lids and closures versus other aluminum is very important. I hope that your investigation under Section 232 will be limited in scope to only products that are used for national security applications and not include the products listed above.
Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to working with you on this matter. Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Mark O’Neil in my office at Mark.O’Neil@mail.house.gov.
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.Member of Congress