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Sen. Elizabeth Warren is accusing the Trump administration of rigging its trade wars.
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Democrat asked the Commerce Department’s inspector general to investigate the agency’s process of granting and rejecting exemptions to the steep tariffs Trump placed on imported steel and aluminum products in March. She said the agency has made “troubling” decisions, such as granting relief to the US subsidiary of a sanctioned Russian company.
The article goes on to state the following:
Thousands of US-based companies have asked the administration to give them a special break from the hefty 25 percent tariff on imported steel and the 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. The tariffs were supposed to protect the US steel industry from foreign competition, as a matter of national security. But following fierce backlash from US businesses that buy steel, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross agreed to waive the tariffs if companies could show that the steel wasn’t readily available in the US, or if it didn’t threaten America’s national security.
In Warren’s letter to the inspector general, which was shared with Vox, she pointed out one particularly distressing case she came across this summer. In July, the Commerce Department had approved a tariff exemption for the US subsidiary of a sanctioned Russian metals company with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite past objections from US steel producers, United Company Rusal was allowed to purchase 6.6 million pounds of imported aluminum, untaxed.
The Commerce Department told the New York Times earlier this month that it approved the waiver because “this product is not available from U.S. manufacturers.” It then reversed course and denied the waiver, due to a “clerical error.”
“Thousands of companies are seeking exemptions worth billions of dollars and affect manufacturing and investment decisions nationwide,” Warren wrote. “But this process appears to be running on an ad hoc basis, with little transparency, and bending to political pressure from well-connected lobbyists and Administration officials.”
Elizabeth Warren calls for probe into Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariff exemptions https://t.co/B74fG6jjrE
— 1ClickBiz #MAGA (@1ClickBiz) August 29, 2018
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