Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Date: July 1, 2019


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.”


What You Need to Know:

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

  • March 8, 2018: Presidential Proclamations:  Aluminum (HTS codes); Steel (HTS codes

  • March 22, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 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.

  • June 1, 2018:  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.

  • August 29, 2018 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.

  • September 9, 2018: 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

  • May 17, 2019: USTR announces deal with Canada and Mexico to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. 

  • June 10, 2019: Commerce announces new 232 portal. The Federal Register Notice can be found here.


MEMA Staff Contacts: Ann Wilson and Catherine Boland



Filing for Product Exclusions:

Companies can file for product exclusions from the tariffs through the Department of Commerce’s new portal found here

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. If any objections are posted, companies have 7 days to file a rebuttal followed by a 7 day rebuttal period for the objecting company. Commerce then has approximately 60 days to review the submission and any objections, etc. 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: While the new portal is live, the old portals on are still active. Not until every request goes through the objection, rebuttal, and surrebuttal phase (if applicable) and receives a decision memo will the portals close.

New features Commerce's new steel and aluminum docket:

  • The request form is now web-based - users must create an account before completing a form
  • Steel and aluminum requests now reside in one docket
  • The new docket allows users to sort by fields including company name, HTS code, and product. 
  • CBP has access to portal - allows for quicker turn around time on requests. 

Commerce's 113-page user guide for the new portal can be found here


Steel Information:

Aluminum Information:



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: 

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

Quota Bulletins 



Additional Resources:



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