On Wednesday, Trump signed two proclamations allowing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to authorize relief from quotas on steel and aluminum.
"The Secretary is hereby authorized to provide relief from the quantitative limitations applicable to steel articles… determined not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality, and is also authorized to provide such relief based upon specific national security considerations," the document published by the White House read.
However, US Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said earlier on Wednesday that the Inspector General of the US Commerce Department must investigate the exemption process for the government’s metal tariffs after reports revealed mistakes and political favoritism.
"I am writing to request that your office conduct an investigation of the Commerce Department’s implementation of the exemption (i.e., exclusion) process for steel and aluminum tariff’s imposed by President [Donald] Trump under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962," she said in a letter to Inspector General Peggy Gustafson.
The senator pointed out she became concerned when the Trump administration approved a tariff exemption for Rusal America Corporation, a subsidiary of a sanctioned Russian company controlled by blacklisted Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska.
As of August 27, Warren said, the US Commerce Department had received 30,035 exemption requests for steel and aluminum imports. The department made decisions on 3,559 of those requests, approving 2,101 and denying 1,458.