UPDATE 2-Trump given options for steep U.S. import curbs on steel, aluminum

(Adds tariff options, Ross comments to reporters)

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is weighing steep curbs on steel and aluminum imports on national security grounds ranging from global and country-specific tariffs to broad import quotas, the U.S. Department of Commerce said on Friday.

The long-awaited unveiling of Commerce's "Section 232" national security reviews of the two industries contained global tariff options of at least 24 percent on all steel products from all countries, and at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum products from all countries.

The announcement from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did not indicate whether Trump will choose the global tariffs or more targeted options in an effort to provide import relief for the two industries.

Ross told reporters on a conference call "there has been no dialing back" of the recommendations due to objections from industries that use steel and aluminum.

"The objective of both reports is to get the production up to a level which will result, in our judgment, in the long term viability of each industry," Ross said, adding that he did not believe that the recommendations would lead to significant price hikes.


Alternatively, the agency said it recommended a steel tariff of at least 53 percent on all steel imports from 12 countries -- Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Other countries would be subject to a quota limiting their tariff-free access to their 2017 steel exports to the United States.

The country-specific aluminum tariff option would impose a 23.6 percent tariff on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. All others would be subject to quotas equal to their 2017 exports to the United States.

A third option called for Trump to impose global quotas based on 63 percent of each country's 2017 steel exports and based on 87 percent of their aluminum exports to the United States.

Commerce said that it designed the remedies to raise U.S. capacity utilization to about 80 percent for each industry, from the current 48 percent in aluminum and 76 percent in steel.

The reports recommend that Ross be allowed to grant requests from U.S. companies to exclude specific products if the U.S. lacks sufficient domestic capacity or for national security considerations.

Steel stocks soared on the recommendations, with U.S. Steel up 9.7 percent, AK Steel up 9.9 percent and the broader S&P 1500 steel index up 4 percent.

Century Aluminum shares jumped 8.1 percent, while Alcoa was up 0.9 percent.

Trump was presented with reports last month following parallel "Section 232" investigations into whether import restrictions on steel and aluminum are needed to protect national security. The probes were authorized in April last year under a 1962 trade law that has not been invoked since 2001.

Trump met with a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives at the White House last week, signaling he would take at least some action to restrict imports of the two metals.

"What were talking about is tariffs and or quotas," Trump told the group. "Part of the options would be tariffs coming in. As they dump steel, they pay tariffs, substantial tariffs, which means the United States would actually make a lot of money."

Some lawmakers and steel and aluminum users have urged caution in any restrictions to avoid disruptions or price spikes in the raw materials, used in everything from autos to appliances and aircraft and construction.

Trump has until around April 11 to decide whether to impose steel import curbs and April 20 to decide on aluminum restrictions. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and David Lawder; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Phil Berlowitz)