This morning the Federal Circuit released a precedential opinion in a trade case appealed from the Court of International Trade. In it, the Federal Circuit reversed the Court of International Trade’s determination that raised tariffs on steel imports were unauthorized under the Trade Expansion Act. The Federal Circuit also released a nonprecedential opinion in a veterans case appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Finally, the Federal Circuit released three nonprecedential orders dismissing appeals. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the dismissals.
PrimeSource Building Products, Inc. v. United States (Precedential)
In 2018, pursuant to § 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, Pub. L. No. 87-794, 76 Stat. 872, 877, codified as amended at 19 U.S.C. § 1862, the Secretary of Commerce reported to the President that steel imports threatened national security by contributing to unsustainably low levels of use of domestic steel-producing capacity, and the President, agreeing with the Secretary’s finding, issued Proclamation 9705 to adopt a plan of action to address that threat, starting with imposition of higher tariffs on steel imports from certain countries but providing for monitoring and future adjustments if needed. In 2020, the President issued Proclamation 9980, which, based on the required monitoring, raised tariffs on imports of steel derivatives such as nails and fasteners. That proclamation was challenged in two cases (before us here) filed in the Court of International Trade (Trade Court)—one by PrimeSource Building Products, Inc.; the other by Oman Fasteners, LLC, Huttig Building Products, Inc., and Huttig, Inc. (collectively, Oman Fasteners)—against the United States, the President, and two federal agencies and their heads (collectively, the government). The Trade Court held Proclamation 9980 to be unauthorized by § 232 because the new derivatives tariffs were imposed after the passing of certain deadlines for presidential action set forth in § 232. See PrimeSource Building Products, Inc. v. United States, 497 F. Supp. 3d 1333 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2021); PrimeSource Building Products, Inc. v. United States, 505 F. Supp. 3d 1352 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2021); Oman Fasteners, LLC v. United States, 520 F. Supp. 3d 1332 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2021).
The government appeals. After the Trade Court issued its decisions on the merits, we decided Transpacific Steel LLC v. United States, 4 F.4th 1306 (Fed. Cir. 2021), cert. denied, 142 S. Ct. 1414 (2022), which led the Trade Court to issue stays of its judgments in the two cases. In Transpacific, we upheld a presidential proclamation that increased tariffs on steel beyond Proclamation 9705’s rate, concluding that when the President, within the § 232 time limits at issue, adopts a plan of action that contemplates future contingency-dependent modifications, those time limits do not preclude the President from later adding to the initial import impositions in order to carry out the plan to help achieve the originally stated national-security objective where the underlying findings and objective have not grown stale. We now uphold Proclamation 9980. That proclamation’s new imposition reaches imports of steel derivatives, which are within § 232’s authorization of presidential action based on the Secretary’s finding about imports of steel, and there is no staleness or other persuasive reason for overriding the President’s judgment that including derivatives helps achieve the specific, original national-security objective. We therefore reverse the judgments of the Trade Court.
Torres v. McDonough (Nonprecedential)
Cesar R. Vazquez Torres appeals from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims’ (“Veterans Court”) decision denying his petition for a writ of mandamus. Because Mr. Vazquez Torres’s appeal is moot, we dismiss.