President Trump orders probe into whether steel imports harming US

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 17: U.S. President Donald Trump greets guests during the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. The White House said 21,000 people were expected to attend the annual tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump is directing the administration to investigate whether steel imports are jeopardizing U.S. national security.

In the Oval Office on Thursday, April 20th, President Trump signed a memo ordering the investigation while surrounded by executives from U.S. steelmakers.

A 1960s trade law gives the president authority to restrict imports if they are determined to be harmful to U.S. security interests. The law requires that the investigation be concluded within 270 days. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the timeline will be expedited.

U.S. prominence in the steel industry has been slipping for decades.

According to the Belgium-based World Steel Association, American-made steel once accounted for roughly 20 percent of global production, but had slipped to less than 5 percent by 2015.

China made up less than 3 percent of U.S. steel imports.