Law and lobbying giant Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld will represent Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry as the Arabian Peninsula country seeks an exemption from President Trump’s recently-imposed steel tariffs.
Trump in March slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports as part of a series of tariffs he imposed on imported goods, ordered under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which allows the President to impose tariffs if "an article is being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten or impair the national security.”
The move drew rebukes from China as well as resounding criticism from Trump's fellow conservatives.
The order, which went into effect March 23, currently exempts Canada and Mexico and allows the possibility of future exemptions to other countries as well.
Akin Gump will provide the Omani government counsel regarding its efforts to obtain an exemption from these tariffs, and will conduct outreach to U.S. government officials for the same purpose, according to documents filed with the Justice Department in May.
Oman, whose economy is derived primarily from oil, tourism and the fish trade, has made strides to bolster its steel and aluminum sector in recent years in response to a growing demand for steel imports throughout neighboring Arab states and globally.
Oman’s northern port town of Sohar lies strategically between Europe and Asia’s global trade routes and is home to one of the world’s fastest-growing port and free zone developments. That business and industrial hub’s steel sector has received more than $5 billion in investments from the Omani government in recent years, with hopes that it could eventually become one of the Arab Persian Gulf states’ leading steel producers.
Turkey, one of Europe's top steel pipe producers, and Ukraine are among the other nations that have recently hired stateside lobbying support in the hopes that they too could be exempted from Trump’s steel tariffs policy.
Oman’s pact, which was signed in April, runs until July and fetches Akin Gump $120,000.