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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Initiates Section 232 Investigation into Imports of Vanadium

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 5, 2020
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Wilbur Ross

WASHINGTON (Commerce Department PR) — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has initiated an investigation into whether the present quantities or circumstances of vanadium imports into the United States threaten to impair the national security.

This decision follows review of the petition filed by domestic producers, AMG Vanadium LLC (Cambridge, OH), and U.S. Vanadium LLC (Hot Springs, AR), on November 19, 2019, requesting that the Department of Commerce launch an investigation into vanadium imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended.

Secretary Ross sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper informing him of the investigation.

“Vanadium is utilized in our national defense and critical infrastructure, and is integral to certain aerospace applications,” said Secretary Ross. “We will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent investigation to determine whether vanadium imports threaten to impair U.S. national security.”

Vanadium is a metal used in production of metal alloys and as a catalyst for chemicals across aerospace, defense, energy, and infrastructure sectors. Designated a strategic and critical material, vanadium is used for national defense and critical infrastructure applications. Examples include aircraft, jet engines, ballistic missiles, energy storage, bridges, buildings, and pipelines.

Vanadium is a key component in aerospace applications due to its strength-to-weight ratio, the best of any engineered material. U.S. demand is supplied entirely through imports.

The petitioners assert that domestic industry is adversely impacted by unfairly traded low-priced imports, limited export markets due to value-added tax regimes in other vanadium producing countries, and the distortionary effect of Chinese and Russian industrial policies.  

The investigation, conducted by the Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, will provide the opportunity for public comment until July 20, 2020 as notedin the Federal Register.