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According to reporting by Bloomberg, the Trump administration is planning  to begin an investigation into uranium imports which could lead to further border tariffs on national security grounds.

Key quotes

“U.S. uranium producers Energy Fuels Inc. and Ur-Energy Inc. filed a petition in January asking the Commerce Department to investigate the matter under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, the same provision the president used to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. U.S. industry wants the government to shield it from competition from state-owned companies in countries including Russia and Kazakhstan.

A uranium investigation would add to trade tensions that the IMF warns represents the biggest risk to the global economy. Imposing uranium duties would deal another blow to nuclear power plants already struggling with low electricity prices and flat demand.

However, U.S. miners supply less than 5 percent of domestic consumption for the metal, and they argue it’s increasingly difficult to compete with state-subsidized companies in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  “The global uranium market is not a level playing field,” said Paul Goranson, chief operating officer of Energy Fuels. “It’s put the country at a real risk, because we’re increasingly dependent on these state-owned companies which obviously have different global strategic objectives than we do.”  U.S. producers want about 25 percent of the domestic market to be reserved for American miners, which produced about 1.2 million pounds last year, the lowest in at least 25 years.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Senate Finance committee last month that he would make a decision on the uranium probe “very shortly.” “It’s complicated by some prior agreements that exist but we are sorting through it and we will come to a conclusion very, very quickly,” Ross said.”