July 25, 2017 | By: Ana Swanson.
President Trump said Tuesday that his administration is delaying a long-awaited verdict on whether to restrict imports of foreign steel, again punting on a decision that has divided U.S. industries and his own administration, as well as strained ties with some of the country’s closest allies and trading partners. “[W]e’re waiting till we get everything finished up between health care and taxes and maybe even infrastructure,” the president told the Wall Street Journal.
Trump’s remarks follow a month-long period in which stakeholders expected an imminent decision. Administration officials had said they would deliver a report by the end of June determining whether steel imports have compromised U.S. national security by crippling the domestic steel industry
But political and practical obstacles have delayed the decision. Foreign allies that export steel to the United States and U.S. companies that would see their costs rise because of the measure have opposed the plan, as well as some administration officials who fear triggering a trade war.
Gathering the data necessary for the decision also appears to be more difficult than the administration foresaw. Steel companies were still getting requests for information from the Commerce Department as recently as last week, said a steel industry official who declined to be named to discuss private conversations
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