According to the "Section 232" national security reviews unveiled on Friday, President Trump is to uniformly impose at least 24 percent global tariffs on all steel products or impose 53 percent tariffs on steel from a dozen countries, including South Korea, China, Brazil and Russian Federation.
Hufbauer also said the Commerce Department used an broad definition of "national security" that included industries and products not traditionally considered crucial to defence, in order to justify the need for such steep tariffs on steel.
On Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended that Trump impose trade measures against foreign suppliers of the metals because of national security.
"Free markets globally are adversely affected by substantial chronic global excess steel production led by China", the report said.
And these proposals could hurt other countries more than China, which is the world's largest steel producer but provides less than one per cent of U.S. imports and sells only 10 per cent of its wrought aluminum overseas. He said, for example, that only one USA company now produces a high-quality aluminum alloy needed for military aircraft.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry, in a statement, said the findings of the usa investigation "have no basis and are totally inconsistent with the facts".
In response, China's Commerce Ministry on Saturday called Ross' report "baseless", urging the United States to respect the rules of multilateral trade and to contribute to the system of global economy and trade in a positive way.
"If the United States' final decision affects China's interests, we will take necessary measures to defend our rights", said Wang Hejun, a senior official at China's Commerce Ministry, according to a report Saturday by state-run news agency Xinhua.
The measures are meant to increase USA production to 80 percent of capacity in both industries. At present, domestic steel plants are running at 73 percent of capacity and aluminum plants at 48 percent.
"I thank Secretary Ross for his work, but OH steelworkers don't need a report to tell them they are losing jobs to Chinese cheating", said Brown in a statement following the report's release.
Trump could determine that certain countries should be exempted from the proposed curbs "based on an overriding economic or security interest of the United States", the report said, suggesting he may exclude allies such as Japan and North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries from any action.
Among its key findings, the report found that the United States is the world's largest importer of steel - with imports almost four times greater than its exports.
Trump has to make a decision on steel by April 11 and on aluminum by April 19.
Other options would impose either higher tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports. Trump plans to make a decision by April on the recommendation, which includes a 53 percent tariff on steel from 12 countries, including China.
The third option involves a quota on all products from all countries equal to 63 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States. Due to that threat, Ross recommended the president reduce imports through quotas or tariffs. The second was a 23.6 percent tariff on China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam, with all other countries subject to a quota equal to the amount they exported the United States in 2017.
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer welcomed the proposed import curbs, saying they "are the beginning of efforts by this administration to finally get tough on China".
Ross said typical USA trade actions against dumping and illegitimate subsidies had failed to address market oversupply, particularly by China, because "Serial offenders can evade these orders by transshipment through another country, with or without additional processing".