President Trump stated on March 1 that his administration would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports for an indefinite period. This was a preview of formal determinations expected this week or next. The formal determinations will represent the culmination of proceedings that began in April 2017 under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, a provision concerning the effects of imports on US national security. In January 2018, the US Department of Commerce found that imports of steel and aluminum threaten to impair national security and proposed a range of actions that, in the agency's view, the President could take to address those threats. The President's March 1 statements indicate that he will apply global tariffs at levels greater than those recommended by Commerce, but significant uncertainty persists. While Trump Administration officials have indicated in recent days that country-specific exclusions are unlikely, the precise terms of the tariffs and the scope of covered countries and products will not be known for certain until the President's decisions are formalized.

Interested parties should monitor the Trump Administration's forthcoming Section 232 tariff determinations. The determinations will likely direct US Customs and Border Protection to begin applying import tariffs within 15 days, and instruct Commerce to institute processes by which interested parties may request that specific products be excluded from the broader categories of steel and aluminum subject to the tariffs. In its recommendations to the President, Commerce suggested that product exclusions would be granted “based on a demonstrated (1) lack of sufficient US production capacity of comparable products; or (2) specific national security based considerations.” However, the details of any product exclusion criteria and procedures will not be known at least until the President issues his determinations, and possibly not until Commerce (or other responsible agency) publishes guidance sometime later.

Interested parties should also monitor possible US court challenges by affected companies, as well as countermeasures by foreign governments, including World Trade Organization disputes and retaliatory tariffs.

WilmerHale will provide supplemental information about the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, including details on any product exclusion processes, once the Trump Administration formalizes its decisions. We have been closely following these proceedings since their inception and would be happy to explore ways we might assist you in this matter.

The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has named Denver Partner Ken Salazar one if its 2018 Rainmakers, a designation that recognizes Salazar's expertise at the intersection of law and business development. Salazar is featured in the Spring 2018 Diversity & The Bar® magazine and is an honoree at MCCA's 2018 Global TEC Forum in Austin, Texas.

Salazar was selected based on the strength of his professional resume. As a member of the public sector, Salazar has represented the energy interests of Americans while serving as executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Attorney General, US Senator and Secretary of the Interior. As Secretary, Salazar helped lead US energy efforts in developing and implementing President Obama's “all of the above” energy strategy, which included overseeing the development of conventional and renewable energy resources. He also led the effort to permit more than 11,000 MW of power on public lands from solar, wind and geothermal sources (the equivalent of power from 30 regular power plants).

Today, Salazar continues to influence our energy economy through his work with some of the most significant energy companies in Colorado and across the US As a practicing attorney in WilmerHale's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice, he advises major national and Colorado-based energy clients on issues they face in the environment and natural resources space.

Salazar's significant community involvement also was a factor in his selection. He has served on more than 35 boards and commissions and he has been recognized with more than 100 awards and recognitions, including the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award and Latino Leaders magazine's Most Influential Leaders, among many others.