19 U.S. Code § 2132 - Balance-of-payments authority
(a) Presidential proclamations of temporary import surcharges and temporary limitations on imports through quotas in situations of fundamental international payments problems
Whenever fundamental international payments problems require special import measures to restrict imports—
(2) to prevent an imminent and significant depreciation of the dollar in foreign exchange markets, or
(3) to cooperate with other countries in correcting an international balance-of-payments disequilibrium,
the President shall proclaim, for a period not exceeding 150 days (unless such period is extended by Act of Congress)—
(A) a temporary import surcharge, not to exceed 15 percent ad valorem, in the form of duties (in addition to those already imposed, if any) on articles imported into the United States;
(B) temporary limitations through the use of quotas on the importation of articles into the United States; or
(C) both a temporary import surcharge described in subparagraph (A) and temporary limitations described in subparagraph (B).
The authority delegated under subparagraph (B) (and so much of subparagraph (C) as relates to subparagraph (B)) may be exercised
(i) only if international trade or monetary agreements to which the United States is a party permit the imposition of quotas as a balance-of-payments measure, and
(ii) only to the extent that the fundamental imbalance cannot be dealt with effectively by a surcharge proclaimed pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (C). Any temporary import surcharge proclaimed pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (C) shall be treated as a regular customs duty.
(b) Import restrictions not imposed when contrary to national interest of United States
If the President determines that the imposition of import restrictions under subsection (a) of this section will be contrary to the national interest of the United States, then he may refrain from proclaiming such restrictions and he shall—
(c) Presidential proclamations liberalizing imports
Whenever the President determines that fundamental international payments problems require special import measures to increase imports—
(1) to deal with large and persistent United States balance-of-trade surpluses, as determined on the basis of the cost-insurance-freight value of imports, as reported by the Bureau of the Census, or
(2) to prevent significant appreciation of the dollar in foreign exchange markets,
the President is authorized to proclaim, for a period of 150 days (unless such period is extended by Act of Congress)—
(A) a temporary reduction (of not more than 5 percent ad valorem) in the rate of duty on any article; and
(B) a temporary increase in the value or quantity of articles which may be imported under any import restriction, or a temporary suspension of any import restriction.
Import liberalizing actions proclaimed pursuant to this subsection shall be of broad and uniform application with respect to product coverage except that the President shall not proclaim measures under this subsection with respect to those articles where in his judgment such action will cause or contribute to material injury to firms or workers in any domestic industry, including agriculture, mining, fishing, or commerce, or to impairment of the national security, or will otherwise be contrary to the national interest.
(d) Nondiscriminatory treatment of import restricting actions
(1) Import restricting actions proclaimed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be applied consistently with the principle of nondiscriminatory treatment. In addition, any quota proclaimed pursuant to subparagraph (B) of subsection (a) of this section shall be applied on a basis which aims at a distribution of trade with the United States approaching as closely as possible that which various foreign countries might have expected to obtain in the absence of such restrictions.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the President determines that the purposes of this section will best be served by action against one or more countries having large or persistent balance-of-payments surpluses, he may exempt all other countries from such action.
(3) After such time when there enters into force for the United States new rules regarding the application of surcharges as part of a reform of internationally agreed balance-of-payments adjustment procedures, the exemption authority contained in paragraph (2) shall be applied consistently with such new international rules.
(4) It is the sense of Congress that the President seek modifications in international agreements aimed at allowing the use of surcharges in place of quantitative restrictions (and providing rules to govern the use of such surcharges) as a balance-of-payments adjustment measure within the context of arrangements for an equitable sharing of balance-of-payments adjustment responsibility among deficit and surplus countries.
(e) Broad and uniform application of import restricting actions
Import restricting actions proclaimed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be of broad and uniform application with respect to product coverage except where the President determines, consistently with the purposes of this section, that certain articles should not be subject to import restricting actions because of the needs of the United States economy. Such exceptions shall be limited to the unavailability of domestic supply at reasonable prices, the necessary importation of raw materials, avoiding serious dislocations in the supply of imported goods, and other similar factors. In addition, uniform exceptions may be made where import restricting actions will be unnecessary or ineffective in carrying out the purposes of this section, such as with respect to articles already subject to import restrictions, goods in transit, or goods under binding contract. Neither the authorization of import restricting actions nor the determination of exceptions with respect to product coverage shall be made for the purpose of protecting individual domestic industries from import competition.
(f) Quantitative limitations
Any quantitative limitation proclaimed pursuant to subparagraph (B) or (C) of subsection (a) of this section on the quantity or value, or both, of an article—
(1) shall permit the importation of a quantity or value which is not less than the quantity or value of such article imported into the United States from the foreign countries to which such limitation applies during the most recent period which the President determines is representative of imports of such article, and
(g) Suspension, modification, or termination of proclamations
The President may at any time, consistent with the provisions of this section, suspend, modify, or terminate, in whole or in part, any proclamation under this section either during the initial 150-day period of effectiveness or as extended by subsequent Act of Congress.