US Secretary Department of Commerce Launches an Investigation to Determine the Effect of Various Transformer Products on its National Security

The Secretary of the Department of Commerce in the United States initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 on May 11, 2020.  This investigation is being undertaken to determine the effect on the national security of imports of the following products:

  • Laminations for Stacked Cores for Incorporation into Transformers
  • Stacked Cores for Incorporation into Transformers
  • Wound Cores for Incorporation into Transformers
  • Electrical Transformers
  • Transformer Regulators

This investigation resulted from inquiries and requests from interested parties in the United States, including multiple Members of Congress, a domestic Grain-Oriented Electrical Steel (GOES) manufacturer, and producers of Power and Distribution Transformers.

If the Secretary finds that products are being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security, the Secretary will advise the President in his report on the findings of the investigation.

The investigation adopts a broad definition of what may threaten national security, including negative impact on the economic welfare of the industry and the displacement of jobs, skills, and investments. The Secretary must report back to the President within 270 days of initiation.  Based on the Secretary’s report, the President is authorized to negotiate agreements to limit or restrict imports or take other actions as the President deems necessary to adjust the imports of such articles so they will not threaten or impair the national security.

The results of this investigation have the potential to impact the North American transformer market.  From a Canadian perspective, it may alter the export of transformer goods to the United States.

The Department of Commerce has invited public comment from interested parties.  EFC is working with Members of the Distribution, Dry Type and Power Transformer Business Sections; and in consultation with Global Affairs in Ottawa and NEMA to formulate an appropriate response to this ongoing matter.

For more information, please contact Rob McIntyre at