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Trump Declares a National Emergency: Was There One Already?

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Feb. 15 2019, Updated 3:32 p.m. ET

President Trump

On February 15, President Trump announced a national emergency to help garner funds for the wall on the US-Mexico border. Declaring an emergency is among the rarely used laws. However, President Trump hasn’t shied away from using lesser-known laws to bypass Congress.

Previously, the Trump Administration used laws that are meant for rare circumstances. In 2016, the Department of Commerce initiated two separate probes into US steel and aluminum imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The Department of Commerce found that steel and aluminum imports are a threat to US national security and recommended tariffs. President Trump acted on the report and imposed even harsher tariffs than the recommendation.

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Section 232 probe

A Section 232 probe is underway into automotive imports as well. Unlike steel companies (SPY), automotive companies like Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) didn’t exactly welcome the probe. In 2017, the Department of Commerce self-initiated a probe into aluminum alloy sheet imports from China through a rarely used provision.

President Trump has frequently used lesser-known laws in a bid to quickly implement the administration’s agenda. Equity markets don’t seem perturbed by the national emergency. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), NVIDIA (NVDA), Qualcomm (QCOM), Microsoft (MSFT), and General Electric (GE) are trading with gains of 3.5%, 3.3%, 0.8%, 0.63%, and 1.8% as of 11:50 AM EST. However, all of the FAANG stocks (GOOG) (NFLX) (AMZN) are in the red.

Berkshire Hathaway released its 13F on February 14 and trimmed its stake in Apple (AAPL). Read Warren Buffett’s Investments: Did He Play Safe in Q4? to learn more.

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