February 12, 2018 / 10:10 PM / a year ago

Trump to meet U.S. lawmakers to discuss trade, focus on steel and aluminum

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, U.S. February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday to discuss trade matters, as he ponders whether to takes steps to limit steel and aluminum imports seen as damaging to U.S. businesses.

A month ago the Commerce Department handed Trump the results of its investigation into steel and aluminum imports, giving him 90 days to respond. They have offered no insight into their conclusions.

“The president will hear from bipartisan members of Congress across the spectrum of opinions on trade matters, including the pending (Section) 232 cases on steel and aluminum,” said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.

“This meeting is part of the president’s commitment to ensure fair and reciprocal trade policies that support the American worker and grow the American economy,” she said.

U.S. steel company executives urged Trump early this month to impose trade measures to curb excess steel capacity and surging imports they say are undermining domestic industry.

Trump is considering action on both steel and aluminum under the rarely used ‘Section 232’ of a 1962 U.S. trade law, which allows for restrictions to protect national security.

A statement from the office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said Brown and his Ohio Republican colleague, Rob Portman, will be among the group to meet Trump at the White House. Ohio is an important steel producer.

“The senators have worked together to push for quick action to address Chinese steel overcapacity, which is threatening Ohio jobs,” the statement said.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney and Rosalba O'Brien

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