Despite his claims that he wants pipelines built in the United States to be made with American-made steel, the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will not be subject to this already questionable directive.
From The New York Post:
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that’s due to language in a presidential directive Trump issued in January. The directive applies to new pipelines or those under repair. Sanders said it would be hard to do an about-face on Keystone because it’s already under construction and the steel has been acquired.
Trump said as recently as last week that Keystone and the Dakota Access pipeline must use American steel “or we’re not building one.”
This pipeline, which was a center of controversy for President Obama, the Keystone XL would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast, where refineries would process oil from Canada’s tar sands that produces more greenhouse gases than normal crude.
“If we’re going to use our powers of eminent domain and all the other powers, then I want the pipe to be manufactured with United States steel,” President Trump said during a meeting with small business leaders in late January. However, shortly after that declaration, Reuters reported that most of the steel for this project had already been purchased. Half of it was made in the U.S., in Arkansas, but by a company named Welspun which operates out of India.
While, rhetorically, this directive sounds good to some Americans, as a matter of policy it’s possibly an illegal directive.
From NBC News:
“First of all, this is private investment, so there’s no legal authority for the government to require a private company to use domestic materials,” [Dan Ikenson, director of the Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies] said on Thursday, prior to Trump’s comments at the retreat.
“Is it good policy to have the president dictate where U.S. companies buy their inputs? No. I think that’s terrible. I think that’s dictatorial. I think it’s very bad precedence.”
This policy also violates a longstanding norm of international trade deals, known as “national interest” that requires a country to treat all foreign businesses the same as domestic ones. However these sorts of norms are exactly what the “economic nationalist” wing of the party wants, although to enforce such a proposal they’d have to increase at least part of the “administrative state.”
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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