Fiji Time: 1:33 PM on Friday 23 March

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Steel import probe

Friday, April 21, 2017

US President Donald Trump on Thursday will sign a directive asking for a speedy probe into whether imports of foreign-made steel are hurting US national security, two administration officials said on Wednesday.

Mr Trump is to sign the memorandum related to section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 at a White House event that is expected to include leaders of some US steel companies.

The law allows the president to impose restrictions on imports for reasons of national security.

There are national security implications, one of the officials said, from imports of steel alloys that are used in products such as the armour plating of ships and require a lot of expertise to create and produce.

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross launched the probe on Wednesday night.

Mr Trump's directive will ask Mr Ross to conduct it "with all deliberate speed and deliver the results to the president with his recommendations," a second official said.

The move is another step in Mr Trump's "America First" policies in which he has tried to boost US manufacturers and preserve American jobs.

It comes as he tries to coax China into taking a more active role in reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

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