Bernd Janzen Quoted by Global Trade Review on Trade Investigations Leading Up to G20

Akin Gump international trade partner Bernd Janzen is quoted by Global Trade Review for its article “Trump heads to G20 as trade war brews,” which discusses the July 7-8 G20 Summit—at which world leaders will discuss global economic growth and international trade—and the controversy surrounding President Trump’s push for protectionist measures.

The article notes that, prior to this year’s summit, Mr. Trump had instructed his Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to investigate steel and aluminum imports as a threat to national security under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, with plans to unveil his findings as the first step towards implementation of trade restrictions.

Janzen, whose practice focuses on trade litigation such as antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings, commented, “When the Trump trade team got started, their mandate was to look deep inside the toolbox and find out what kind of mechanisms are available under US law that would allow us to take decisive, radical steps to curb imports in industries we think it’s politically desirable to do so, mostly where there’s US manufacturing at stake.”

On Ross’ investigation, Janzen continued, “Out came this tool that hasn’t been used for a long time, for good reason, because it is in a number of ways inconsistent with the WTO-based trading rules that emerged more recently. Almost by definition an action under 232 is going to violate various aspects of the WTO trading rules system.”

With regard to the possible impact on U.S. diplomatic and trade ties, Janzen predicts that a heavy-handed combination of tariffs and quotas on aluminum and steel will prove detrimental to relations with China and the EU as well as likely violate the rules of the global trading system.