LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) – First there was steel. Then there was aluminium. Now titanium joins the list of metals found to be threatening the national security of the United States.
The U.S. Commerce Department launched a so-called Section 232 investigation into titanium sponge imports in March last year and submitted it to the White House in November.
Commerce found that U.S. import dependency, amounting to 68% of the country’s consumption in 2018, threatens the viability of the last U.S. producer of this intermediate form of a metal critical to both civilian and military aircraft manufacturers. President Donald Trump agrees.
However, there will be no titanium tariffs to match those implemented on imports of both steel and aluminium in 2018. Rather, there will be talks with Japan, the dominant supplier of sponge to the U.S. market.
And the Secretary of Defense is tasked with taking “all appropriate action” to support “domestic production capacity for the production of titanium sponge to meet national defense requirements.” (Presidential Memorandum, Feb. 27, 2020).