WASHINGTON, April 25 The Trump administration
may undertake trade actions to protect the U.S. semiconductor,
shipbuilding and aluminum industries, citing national security
concerns, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Wall Street
Journal in an interview on Tuesday.
He said those industries could qualify for protection under
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which lets the
president impose restrictions on imports for reasons of national
security and was used to launch a probe of steel imports, the
Last week, President Donald Trump launched a trade probe
against China and other exporters of cheap steel into the U.S.
market, raising the possibility of new tariffs.
Ross said the Trump administration might intercede to aid
Toshiba Corp's U.S. unit Westinghouse Electric Co,
which filed for bankruptcy last month.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection after it
incurred billions of dollars of cost overruns at four nuclear
reactors under construction in the U.S. Southeast. The
bankruptcy cast doubt on the future of the first new U.S.
nuclear power plants in three decades.
Ross said renegotiating the North American Free Trade
Agreement should be completed by the end of 2017, the Journal
reported. Ross told the newspaper that if the talks with Mexico
and Canada go much beyond December, it would be difficult to get
the pact ratified by Mexico.
Mexico is due to hold its presidential election in July
Ross said the Trump administration was considering
restarting talks on bilateral trade deals with the European
Union and China that the Obama administration had begun but
never finished, the Journal reported, adding that he said the
United States might reopen a bilateral deal with South Korea.
Earlier this month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told
business leaders in Seoul that the Trump administration would
review and reform the five-year-old free trade agreement between
the two countries.
Pence said the U.S. trade deficit had more than doubled in
the five years since the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement
began and there were too many barriers for U.S. businesses in
(Writing by Eric Beech)