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MEMA Staff Contacts:
 Ann Wilson and Catherine Boland

Take Action: Contact your members of Congress and urge for changes in exclusions process on steel and aluminum tariffs

Background

In 2017, the Secretary of Commerce, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, initiated investigations to determine the effects of steel and aluminum imports on America’s national security.  The President can use his statutory authority under Section 232 to “adjust the imports” as necessary, through means such as tariffs or quotas.

In January 2018, Secretary Ross concluded that imported steel and aluminum “threaten to impair the national security.”

Effective March 23, 2018, President Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. 

  • March 8 Presidential Proclamations:  Aluminum (HTS codes); Steel (HTS codes)

  • March 22 Presidential Proclamations: Suspends tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and South Korea until May 1, 2018. 

  • March 28 Exemption for South Korea: USTR announces permanent exemption for South Korea from steel tariffs, effective May 1. Tariffs are still in effect for aluminum imports

  • ​April 30 Presidential Proclamations: Extends suspension of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union until June 1, 2018.  Australia, Argentina, and Brazil reached agreements in principle.

  • May 31 Presidential Proclamations: Imposes a 25 percent tariff on steel (full annex) imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum (full annex) imports from Canada, Mexico, and the EU effective June 1, 2018.  MEMA's statement on the Canada, EU, and Mexican tariffs can be viewed here.

  • August 29 Presidential Proclamations: Allows Commerce to provide targeted relief from quotas on steel from South Korea, Argentina, and Brazil, and aluminum from Argentina.  Companies can apply for product exclusions based on insufficient quantity or quality available from U.S. steel or aluminum producers.  Extends retroactive relief for all granted product exclusion requests back to the date of filing.

Status

Effective March 23, 2018, President Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. 

As of June 1, steel and aluminum imports from all countries are subject to the tariffs, except for Argentina, Australia Brazil and South Korea, which have quotas in place. Click on U.S. Customs & Border Protection box to read more on the quotas. 

Quotas are broken down into calendar quarters. Once a quota is reached no more imports will be allowed (8/29/18 update: product exclusion requests allowed for countries with quotas) . Options will include warehouse, foreign trade zone, exportation, or destruction. No drawback shall be available with respect to the Section 232 duties imposed on any aluminum or steel article.

On June 20, 2018, the Department of Commerce announced it had begun granting product exclusion requests.

On August 29, 2018, President Trump signed a proclamation allowing Commerce to provide targeted relief from quotas on steel from South Korea, Argentina, and Brazil, and aluminum from Argentina.  Companies can apply for product exclusions based on insufficient quantity or quality available from U.S. steel or aluminum producers.  Proclamation also extends retroactive relief for all granted product exclusion requests back to the date of filing. 

9/11/18: The BIS published an interim final rule (IFR) on Revisions to Requirements for Submissions of Exclusion Requests and Objections to Submitted Requests for Steel and Aluminum in the Federal Register

Filing For Product Exclusions

Companies can file for product exclusions from the tariffs through the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). 

Decisions from the BIS will be made on a case-by-case basis generally in 90 days from date of application. U.S. parties have 30 days after the submission to file objections.  Commerce then has approximately 60 days to review the submission and any objections.  All exclusion requests will be made public. Exclusions, if granted, are only good for 1 year and are eligible for a retroactive refund. Granted product exclusions are retroactive to the date the request for exclusion was filed (this was updated in the August 29 Presidential Proclamation). Please note that there are separate federal dockets to which you upload your applications.

9/11/18: The BIS published an interim final rule (IFR) on Revisions to Requirements for Submissions of Exclusion Requests and Objections to Submitted Requests for Steel and Aluminum in the Federal Register. ​ A number of changes were included:

  • Rebuttal and surrebuttal process - The rebuttal and surrebuttal periods each last seven days and will only start after all objections (or rebuttals) have been posted to regulations.gov. BIS will post a daily list of rebuttal and surrebuttal period openings on https://www.commerce.gov/page/section-232-investigations. If you have a pending exclusion request with objections, check this list often. 

    • The rebuttal process is only 7 calendar days, so check regularly. Please note that the rebuttal form can only be filed by the company that originally filed the Exclusion Request. Commerce posted the forms and a guide on regulations.gov:

  • Tightened requirements for objections, including a more detailed timeline for production of the article

  • Process for exclusions from quotas

  • Codify procedures for protecting and submitting confidential business information. Commerce is now allowing a separate email to be submitted with CBI. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

As of June 1, South Korea, Argentina, and Brazil have quotas in place with the U.S. and are exempted from the Sec. 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.  

Once the quotas are reached (on a quarterly basis), no more imports will be allowed (8/29/18 update: product exclusion requests allowed for countries with quotas).  Options will include warehouse, foreign trade zone, exportation, or destruction. No drawback shall be available with respect to the Section 232 duties imposed on any aluminum or steel article.

U.S. CBP Entry Summary - U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted under its “Administration” section of its website an "Entry Summary" page. Entry summary refers to the documentation necessary to enable them to assess duties, collect statistics, and determine compliance with the law.

Main Page: https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/entry-summary 

Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminum Articles under Section 232: Includes filing instructions and other information.

Quota Bulletins 

Actions MEMA Has Taken on Your Behalf

  • May 31, 2017 -  MEMA comments to Commerce advocating against blanket tariffs and quotas on steel

  • June 20, 2017 - MEMA comments to Commerce advocating against blanket tariffs and quotas on aluminum

  • February 13, 2018 - MEMA letter to President Trump urging against blanket tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum

  • April 12, 2018 - Ann Wilson, MEMA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee on the negative impact of both the Section 232 and 301 tariffs 

  • May 1, 2018 - MEMA responds to Trump administration extension of tariff exemptions

  • May 18, 2018 - MEMA comments to Commerce on interim final rule on requirements for submissions requesting exclusions from steel and aluminum tariffs 

  • May 31, 2018 - MEMA responds to Trump administration announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, the European Union, and Mexico

  • June 19, 2018 - MEMA joins with business associations to call for greater congressional oversight of U.S. trade policy

  • August 7, 2018 -MEMA statement for the hearing record to the House Ways and Means Committee on Section 232 steel and aluminum exclusion process

  • August 30, 2018 - MEMA’s Concerns about Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Heard: Product Exclusions now Available for Countries with Quotas, Retroactive Relief Changed to Date of Filing

  • November 13, 2018 - MEMA comments to Department of Commerce on Section 232 steel and aluminum interim final rule on exclusion requests and objections

Additional Resources

  • MEMA Trade One-Pager

  • ​Arent Fox memos on proclamations and exclusions: MEMA members, please contact Briana Huxley for a copy of the memos

  • MEMA member webinar on Section 232 exclusions: MEMA members, please contact Briana Huxley for the webinar recording.

  • USTR Fact Sheet on Outcomes from Discussions with Korea impacting Sec. 232 Quotas on Korean imports (as well as the KORUS FTA and Currency)​

  • CBP Instructions on Korea Steel Quota

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Section 232 FAQs

  • March 8, 2018 letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, raising concerns about the administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum and requesting information about the analysis and models that led to making the decision to enact tariffs

  • May 3, 2018 letter from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee reiterating their earlier request for data and information about the Trump administration's decision to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel

  • May 7, 2018 letter signed by 39 members of Congress to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging the Secretary to make changes to the product exclusion process for Section 232 aluminum and steel tariffs that would allow the process to move more quickly 

MEMA Media Coverage

​FAQs

Basic Information

What is the difference between exemptions and exclusions? Exemptions apply to countries, whereas exclusions apply to products.

What products are subject to the tariff? Are finished goods, like vehicle parts, included? The scope of the proclamations is quite extensive and includes a wide array of imported milled and semi-finished articles of steel and aluminum. All products covered by the proclamations are listed by “HTS” codes (Harmonized Tariff Schedule). Per the proclamation, all products under the codes (including headings, subheadings) are in the scope of the action. 

The HTS codes subject to the action fall under the following chapters:

  • Chapter 72 Iron and steel;

  • Chapter 73 Articles of iron or steel; and,

  • Chapter 76 Aluminum and articles thereof.

Finished goods are not covered in the proclamations, such as auto parts found under Chapter 87.

Are these measures applicable only to country of origin? Yes. The Section 232 measures are based on the country of origin, not the country of export.

When do the tariffs expire? There is no sunset date for the Sec. 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. The administration can cancel the tariffs by proclamation.

Exclusions Process

Who can file for exclusions? The company filing for the exclusion should be the company purchasing the steel/aluminum from overseas. If you purchase imported steel/aluminum from a distributor who purchases imports from overseas, then your distributor should file the exclusion request. 

Individuals and organizations using steel or aluminum in business activities in the United States may submit exclusion requests. Note that the completion of the form requires “importer of record” information. Trade associations are not eligible to request exclusions.

Who is granted the exclusion? The approval is granted to companies involved in the importing of steel and aluminum.

Where can I find the application forms?

US individuals or organizations that wish to submit requests for a product already approved for an exclusion may submit a supplemental request, but each request will be adjudicated independently (that is, one entity’s request may be granted while another entity’s request may be denied.)

Can the application be for multiple products? No. Every individual size, diameter, chemical composition requires an individual exclusion request form.

Will business protected information (BPI) or confidential business information (CBI)? No. The instructions from the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security indicate that companies should not include BPI or CBI in their application because all applications are submitted to a public docket. 

How long will my exclusion last? A product exclusion is good for one year from the date the exclusion was granted. You will need to reapply for any exclusions for future years. 

Will duty drawback be available? According to the US Customs and Border Protection administrative instructions on steel and aluminum “No drawback shall be available with respect to the Section 232 duties imposed on any aluminum or steel article.”

When did the exemption for South Korea go into effect and how long is the quota period? The President announced an absolute quota for steel mill articles from South Korea, effective for goods entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. ET on May 1, 2018. The quota period is Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2018, and subsequent annual periods.

What happens once the South Korea quota is reached? Each quarter has a limit of 30 percent of the annual aggregate. No more imports will be allowed once the quota limit is reached. Options include warehouse, foreign trade zone, exportation, or destruction.  Update 8/29/18: the President has signed a proclamation allowing for product exclusions for quota countries. View more in U.S. Customs and Border Protection tab.

What is the status of exemptions for the EU, Canada and Mexico? As of June 1, the exemptions for the EU, Canada and Mexico have expired. Importers can apply for exclusions for products from these countries.

What is the status of exemptions for Australia, Argentina and Brazil? As of May 1, agreements in principle have been reached with Australia, Argentina and Brazil. Specific details are yet to be released.

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