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A worker walks by steel rolls at the Chongqing Iron and Steel plant in Changshou, China, on Aug. 6, 2018.

DAMIR SAGOLJ/Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a challenge to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel brought by an industry group that had argued that a key part of the law under which he imposed the duties violates the U.S. Constitution.

The justices declined to hear the American Institute for International Steel’s appeal of a February ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in favor of the administration. The institute is a pro-free trade group that represents steel importers and users of imported steel.

Trump imposed 25 per cent tariffs on imported steel and 10 per cent tariffs on imported aluminum in March 2018 based on national security grounds. Exemptions have been granted to some countries, including Canada and Mexico.

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The institute brought its lawsuit in June 2018, arguing that Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which allows presidents to impose tariffs based on national security concerns, is unconstitutional because it delegates too much discretion to the president at the expense of Congress.

In March 2019, the U.S. Court of International Trade rejected the group’s lawsuit, prompting it to appeal to the Federal Circuit.

The Supreme Court in June 2019 declined to hear a previous appeal in the same case.

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