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Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exclusion Request Process Modified

Monday, September 10, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The process for individuals and organizations to request exclusions from the Section 232 additional tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum has been modified in response to public comments and the Bureau of Industry and Security’s experience managing this process. Comments on this interim final rule, including whether the changes address earlier concerns or result in unintended consequences, are due by Nov. 9.

[Click here for ST&R’s web page providing comprehensive information on all U.S. tariffs imposed under Section 301 and Section 232 as well as the retaliatory tariffs trading partners are levying on U.S. goods.]

As of Aug. 20 BIS had received more than 38,000 exclusion requests and more than 17,000 objections, far exceeding the agency’s original expectations. Previous efforts to streamline the exclusion review process have included taking steps to expedite the granting of properly filed exclusion requests that receive no objections and present no national security concerns and working to increase and organize BIS staff to efficiently process requests.

BIS is now making additional changes that it believes will make the exclusion and objection process more transparent, fair, and efficient, including the following.

- allowing individuals and organizations that submit exclusion requests to submit a rebuttal to any objections and allowing those who have had a rebuttal filed to their objection to submit a surrebuttal

- allowing exclusion requests already posted but not yet fully adjudicated to be reopened to add rebuttals and surrebuttals

- specifying that exclusion request forms allow for minimum and maximum dimensions and that ranges are acceptable if the manufacturing process permits small tolerances

- describing the process for submitting an exclusion request for importing steel or aluminum

from a country that has a country exemption

- specifying in greater detail the criteria BIS uses to review exclusion requests

- requiring individuals and organizations to be using steel or aluminum in business activities (e.g., construction, manufacturing, or supplying steel product or aluminum product to users) to file objections to exclusion requests

- clarifying the criteria that will be taken into account when determining when a validity period other than one year may be warranted for an exclusion

- specifying that the review period normally will not exceed 106 days, an increase from 90 days to account for rebuttals and surrebuttals

For more information on Section 232 tariff exclusions, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or Kristen Smith at (202) 730-4965.

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