The Commerce Department is saying that imported aluminum and steel threaten U.S. national security and is urging President Donald Trump to impose tariffs or quotas to boost American production.
The recommendations unveiled by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are likely to escalate tensions with China and other U.S. trading partners. Stepped-up production of steel and aluminum, especially by China, has driven down prices and hurt American producers.
The Commerce Department is recommending tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports, higher tariffs on imports from specific countries or a quota on imports.
The measures are meant to increase U.S. production to 80 percent of capacity in both industries. U.S. steel plants are running at 73 percent of capacity and aluminum plants at 48 percent.
Trump has until April 19 to make a decision.