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U.S. Import Restrictions on Uranium Possible in July

The U.S. Department of Commerce has submitted to President Trump a report on the results of its Section 232 investigation of uranium ore and products. Trump now has up to 90 days, or until mid-July, to decide whether to restrict imports of these goods.

The DOC initiated this investigation in July 2018 to determine whether the present quantity and circumstances of uranium ore and product imports threaten to impair U.S. national security. The department explained that U.S. uranium production has declined significantly since 1987 and that U.S. uranium producers have seen a slowdown in operations and employment.

The DOC’s report in this investigation, which has not been made public, was sent to the White House on 14 April. If that report determined that uranium imports are a national security threat and the president agrees, he will have broad authority to adjust imports, including through the use of tariffs and quotas. For example, he could impose the relief sought by the petitioner, which includes (i) a quota that would reserve 25 percent of the U.S. market for U.S. uranium and (ii) a Buy America policy for U.S. government agencies that utilise uranium. Any import adjustments, or any other non-trade-related actions the president may elect to take, would be imposed within 15 days of a determination to act.

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