Skip to Content

International Trade Team Files Petition for Certiorari with the Supreme Court Challenging President Trump’s Section 232 Duties


Today, MMM’s international trade team joined with two other plaintiffs to file a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Borusan Mannesman (Borusan), a Turkish pipe producer.

The case, Transpacific Steel v. United States challenges the lawfulness of President Trump’s August 2018 action doubling the national security steel tariffs on steel products imported from Turkey. A lower court agreed with Borusan and the other plaintiffs that the action violated the requirements of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 because the President failed to follow the timeline and procedures laid out in that act. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the lower court and held that the deadlines in the law are not mandatory.

Section 232 authorizes the President to “adjust imports” when the Secretary of Commerce determines, and the President concurs, that the imports threaten national security. The law requires the President to announce his decision to adjust imports within 90 days of receiving a report from the Secretary and to implement whatever action he announces within 15 days thereafter. In March of 2018, President Trump exercised that authority to impose 25 percent imports on steel products from most sources in the world. Then in August, President Trump doubled the tariffs to 50 percent on imports from Turkey.

That action was well after the 90-day and 15-day deadlines for action had expired. In their petition to the Supreme Court, Borusan and the other plaintiffs argue first, that the deadlines in the statute are mandatory and must be enforced, and second, if the deadlines are held not to be mandatory, then Section 232 is unconstitutional as an unbounded delegation of legislative authority to the President. A decision on whether the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case is expected early next year.

For additional details or any questions regarding this legal update, please contact Julie Mendoza.