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Defense Officials Support Targeted Steel Tariffs

The U.S. Defense Department supports moves by the Commerce Department to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, although it would prefer a system of targeted tariffs rather than a global quota or a global tariff.

The Commerce Department on Feb. 16 recommended that President Donald Trump impose steep curbs on steel imports from China and other countries and offered the three options to the president, who has yet to make a decision.

The Defense Department said in a statement issued Thursday that it was concerned about the potential impact on U.S. allies of the proposed measures and said that was the reason it preferred targeted tariffs.

It recommended that while the tariffs on steel should proceed, the administration should wait before pressing ahead with the measures on aluminum.

“The prospect of trade action on aluminum may be sufficient to coerce improved behavior of bad actors,” the department said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week that Trump would have the final say on what measures to adopt.

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