MEMA Trade Resources

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Section 232 Tariffs on Automobiles and Automotive Parts

China Section 301 Investigation 

Trade and Tariff FAQs

How You Can Get Involved

 

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)


MEMA Staff Contacts: Ann Wilson and Leigh Merino

Take Action: Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to take care in modernizing NAFTA

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BACKGROUND

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), implemented on January 1, 1994, is a trade agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  NAFTA has played a critical role in the development and strengthening of various North American supply chains and has been effective for the overall U.S. vehicle industry. 

In August 2017, the parties commenced negotiations to review and revise the current agreement. Several formal negotiating rounds have occurred since then with many intersessional meetings.

As NAFTA is renegotiated, MEMA has supported the administration’s initiatives to modernize NAFTA and increase jobs in the United States. A NAFTA “2.0” must create a more competitive U.S. manufacturing environment and concurrently strengthen the North American region. MEMA has urged that care be taken to balance re-shoring of U.S. jobs with the unintended risks to jobs and the supply base. The final NAFTA product must continue to provide for a vibrant North American supply chain, which supports U.S. jobs and competitiveness.

STATUS

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations are still at stand still.  President Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for the G7 Summit that the U.S. will leave NAFTA if it does not get a good deal to renew the pact. “If we’re unable to make a deal we’ll terminate NAFTA,” “If we’re unable to make a deal we’ll be better off” “We are not going to live with the deals the way they are” “With that being said I think we’ll probably easily make a deal.”

MEMA continues to be actively involved in direct discussions with the administration, U.S. trade negotiators, industry groups, and supplier association counterparts in Mexico and Canada. MEMA has communicated our messages that NAFTA works, and while modernization is desirable, the U.S. should do no harm to this critical trade agreement. MEMA also continues to address key issues for suppliers that would be impacted by revised automotive rules of origin.

ACTIONS MEMA HAS TAKEN ON YOUR BEHALF

 

 

Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum


​​MEMA Staff Contacts: Ann Wilson and Catherine Boland

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

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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.”

STATUS

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

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

  • March 8 Presidential ProclamationsAluminum (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: 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: Suspends tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union until June 1, 2018Australia, Argentina, and Brazil have reached agreements in principle to be finalized in the next 30 days.

  • 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 on June 1, 2018.  MEMA's statement on the Canada, EU, and Mexican tariffs can be viewed here.

Steel and aluminum from all countries are now subject to the tariffs, except Argentina and Australia in aluminum and Argentina and Brazil in steel, which have agreements in principle.  South Korea has a permanent exemption from the steel tariffs after negotiating quotas.  Argentina and Brazil are also subject to quotas.

FILING FOR 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. Please note that there are separate federal dockets to which you upload your applications.

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

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.

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.

 

 

 

Section 232 Tariffs on Automobiles and Automotive Parts


MEMA Staff Contacts: Ann Wilson and Catherine Boland

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BACKGROUND

On May 23, the Commerce Department announced it is launching a Section 232 investigation on passenger vehicles and automotive parts and looking at “whether such imports are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security.”

STATUS

On May 23, the Department of Commerce initiated the investigation to determine the effects on the national security of imports of automobiles and automotive parts.  You can view the Federal Register notice here (extension of comment period here). Once the investigation is initiated, Commerce has 270 days to issue its report on the investigation and recommendations to the President.  The President then has 90 days to determine whether he agrees with Commerce and impose any tariffs.

Key Dates:

  • Comments are due to Commerce by June 29, and rebuttal comments are due by July 13.  If you would like a comment template and how-to guide for submitting comments, please contact Briana Huxley.

  • Commerce will hold a public hearing on July 19-20 in Washington, D.C.  The written request to testify at the hearing must be submitted by June 29. 

MEMA will be submitting comments and will request to testify at the hearing.  If you would like to be involved in the comment process, please join MEMA’s Trade Working Group by emailing Briana Huxley.

 

China Section 301 Investigation and Actions to Address Intellectual Property Violations


MEMA Staff Contacts: Ann WilsonCatherine Boland, and Leigh Merino

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BACKGROUND

 

On March 22, President Donald Trump announced actions against China to impose tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of imports (USTR Press Release). These tariffs are based on findings of IP theft and technology transfer in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Section 301 investigation report. These tariffs are one of a set of proposed remedies that also included planned restrictions on Chinese investment in U.S. high-tech industries and a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against discriminatory licensing practices.

Following President Trump’s Section 301 decisions, on March 23, the USTR also launched a new WTO challenge against China.

Additionally, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was directed to deliver a list of restrictions on Chinese investment, including state-sponsored investment funds, acquiring American companies to gain access to their technology.

On April 3, the USTR released its Notice of Proposed Determination regarding actions related to trade practices of China. Contained in the notice is the list of possible HTS codes for over 1300 products imported from China with a 25% tariff.

Several vehicle parts and components are listed (examples include: seat parts, tires, wire harnesses, batteries, bearings, turbocharger fans). Additionally, many of the HTS codes overlap the Sec. 232 steel and aluminum products, such that the Sec. 301 tariffs would be on top of the Sec. 232 tariffs.

MEMA submitted comments on May 11, which you can view here.   The USTR public hearing took place May 15-17 and MEMA testified on May 16. 

STATUS

On June 20, USTR published in the Federal Register the list of products from China subject to 25 percent tariffs (Annex A).  The list contains 818 lines of the original 1,333 lines that were included on the originally proposed list, covering approximately $34 billion worth of imports from China.

  • These 25 percent tariffs will go into effect on July 6, 2018.

  • USTR will also a establish a process by which U.S. stakeholders may request that particular products classified within an HTSUS subheading listed in Annex A be excluded from these additional duties. USTR will publish a separate notice describing the product exclusion process, including the procedures for submitting exclusion requests, and an opportunity for interested persons to submit oppositions to a request.

  • The Federal Register notice also proposes 25 percent tariffs on additional products, listed in Annex C.  This list contains 284 proposed tariff lines identified by the interagency Section 301 Committee as benefiting from Chinese industrial policies, including the “Made in China 2025” industrial policy. These 284 lines cover approximately $16 billion worth of imports from China.

    • Comments and hearing deadlines for the proposed list of products in Annex C:

      • June 29, 2018: Due date for filing requests to appear and a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing and for filing pre-hearing submissions

      • July 23, 2018: Due date for submission of written comments

      • July 24, 2018: The Section 301 Committee Public Hearing

      • July 31, 2018: Due date for submission of post-hearing rebuttal comments

  • Importers should be aware that additional tariffs imposed under Section 232 and 301 are included in the calculation for continuous bond sufficiency limits. As a result, companies paying Section 232 and 301 tariffs may be getting notices from US CBP in the coming months requiring importers to raise the amount/coverage on their customs bond.

  • Other related Sec. 301 actions expected: by the end of June, the administration is expected to announce investment restrictions and export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to "industrially significant technology.”

  • The president has also directed the USTR to identify an additional 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of imported goods from China.

ACTIONS MEMA HAS TAKEN ON YOUR BEHALF
  • MEMA issued a statement applauding the focus on intellectual property but questioning the remedy.  In part, the statement read, “MEMA applauds the administration’s continued focus to protect intellectual property and stop IP abuses in China. Suppliers have long advocated for strong global protections of IP investments. However, we do not support using tariffs to curb intellectual property theft.” You can find the entire statement here.

  • MEMA has a lengthy history of pushing for greater protections of intellectual property, including submitting comments to USTR last year outlining specific challenges in China.​

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

  • MEMA submitted comments on May 11, which you can view here

  • MEMA testifed before USTR on May 16 during a public hearing. 

  • MEMA joins with business associations to call for greater congressional oversight of U.S. trade policy

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

MEMA MEDIA COVERAGE
FAQS

What products are subject to the tariff? Are vehicle parts included? The list of products subject to the 25 percent tariff can be found here (Annex A).  HTS Subheading 8708, which covers motor vehicle parts, is not included. However, imports under other categories of parts and materials that are purchased by suppliers to make components are included. It is recommended you consult the list to see what is included.

​USTR also proposed 25 percent tariffs on additional products, listed in Annex C.  Tariffs for the additional list (Annex C) are not yet in effect.  

When do the tariffs take effect? Products listed in Annex A will be subject to a 25 percent tariff effective July 6, 2018.

When do the tariffs expire? There is no sunset date for the Sec. 301 tariffs on Chinese imports. The administration can cancel the tariffs by proclamation.

Were there new products included in the USTR action? Yes. The USTR is proposing the products in Annex C (found here) to be subject to a 25 percent tariff. USTR has asked for public comments due on July 23, 2018 and will hold a public hearing on July 24, 2018. 

Will there be an exclusions process? Yes. The USTR indicated on June 20 that they will provide details on what that process entails in an upcoming Federal Register notice in the coming weeks.

 

 

How You Can Get Involved


  • Visit the MEMA Action Center to contact the members of Congress representing you and your facilities and educate them on the impact trade policy could have on your business

  • Schedule a meeting with your members of Congress, in D.C. or their local office; or invite them to tour your manufacturing facilities. Find your members of Congress and their contact info here

  • Participate in the MEMA Trade Working Group or the MEMA Government Affairs Committee, which help develop policy and strategy positions, by contacting bhuxley@mema.org

  • Subscribe to MEMA’s Washington Insider newsletter by contacting bhuxley@mema.org

Last Updated 6/21/18

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