Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Date: March 19, 2020

 

BACKGROUND:

In 2017, the Secretary of Commerce, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, investigated the effects of steel and aluminum imports on America’s national security.  Under Section 232 authority, the President can “adjust the imports” as necessary, through means such as tariffs or quotas.

In February of 2018, Secretary Ross concluded that imported steel and aluminum “threaten to impair the national security” and submitted the Commerce Department’s report to President Trump. Subsequently, the Department posted a redacted version of its report on its website.

On March 8, 2018, President Trump issued two Presidential Proclamations – 1) imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 2) a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports effective March 23, 2018.

Following the initial proclamations, the President made subsequent proclamations throughout 2018 related to country exemptions – some temporary, some permanent. View “Timeline” below to see proclamation and related actions throughout 2018.

 

STATUS

  • May 17, 2019 – The USTR announced deal with Canada and Mexico to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
  • June 10, 2019 – Commerce announced a new steel and aluminum product exclusions portal. View “Filing for Product Exclusions” below. 
  • January 24, 2020 - President Trump expanded Section 232 tariffs on some derivative steel and aluminum products effective on February 8, 2020.
    • January 29, 2020 – Presidential Proclamation published in the Federal Register.
    • Some bumper and body stampings for automobiles and tractors were among the products included along with nails, staples, and electrical wire
    • Aluminum products have an additional 10% duty; HTS Codes in Annex I here
      • Countries exempted from the additional aluminum tariffs are Argentina, Australia, Canada and Mexico
    •  Steel products would be subject to a 25% duty; HTS codes in Annex II here
      • Countries exempted from the steel tariffs are Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Australia, Mexico and South Korea
    • A product exclusions process is expected but details are TBA
    • U.S. CBP Guidance:  Additional Duty on Imports of Derivative Aluminum and Steel Articles here
  • March 11, 2020 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Cargo Systems Messaging Service published notification #41981999 "RE: Sec. 232 Active Steel and Aluminum Product Exclusion Identifiers (PEI) in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system."

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

MEMA Staff Contacts: Catherine Boland and Melanie Weiland

 

FILING FOR PRODUCT EXCLUSIONS:

As of June 10, 2019, the BIS has a NEW PORTAL available here. Companies must file their product exclusion submissions through this portal going forward. Commerce's 113-page user guide for the new portal can be found here.

  • NOTE: While the new portal is live, the old portals on regulation.gov 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.

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 one (1) year and are eligible for a retroactive refund. Granted product exclusions are retroactive to the date the request for exclusion was filed (NOTE: this was updated in an August 29, 2018 Presidential Proclamation).

Steel Information:

Aluminum Information:

 

View MEMA’s Timeline of Actions on Section 232 Steel and Aluminum.

 

U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION:

As of June 1, 2018, 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 (Per Aug. 29, 2018 proclamation:  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.

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