Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exemptions Modified
President Trump has issued separate proclamations modifying the list of U.S. trading partners exempt from the additional tariffs he imposed on imports of steel and aluminum as of March 23. These tariffs (25 percent and 10 percent, respectively) were imposed after the Department of Commerce determined that imports of these products are threatening to impair national security.
South Korea has been permanently exempted from the steel tariff after agreeing to measures to reduce excess steel production and capacity and contribute to increased capacity utilization in the U.S. This includes a quota that restricts the quantity of steel articles imported from South Korea to 70 percent of average shipments between 2015 and 2017, or about 2.7 million tons. Aluminum imports from South Korea are subject to the additional tariff on that product as of May 1.
The steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for Argentina, Australia, and Brazil will be continued indefinitely while the U.S. works to finalize agreements in principle it has reached with these countries. However, Trump warned that these tariffs could be imposed if agreements are not finalized “shortly.” A White House statement noted that in these negotiations the U.S. is “focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment, and protect the national security.”
The tariff exemptions for Canada, Mexico, and the member countries of the European Union will be extended through May 31 to allow a continuation of discussions. While the U.S. is pushing for these trading partners to agree to quotas as well, all three have indicated that because of their close relationships with the U.S. they expect permanent exemptions without such measures. The EU has said it would impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports if a permanent exemption is not granted.
The proclamations also indicate that (a) no additional tariffs will be imposed on steel or aluminum imports from other countries at this time, (b) covered steel and aluminum articles will not be subject to the additional tariffs merely by reason of manufacture in a U.S. foreign-trade zone, (c) articles admitted to an FTZ in privileged foreign status will retain that status, and (d) no drawback will be available with respect to these additional duties.
As a reminder, the following products are covered by the tariffs, which are in addition to any other applicable duties, fees, exactions, and charges.
- steel articles classified under HTSUS 7206.10 through 7216.50, 7216.99 through 7301.10, 7302.10, 7302.40 through 7302.90, and 7304.11 through 7306.90, including any subsequent revisions to these HTSUS classifications
- the following aluminum articles: (a) unwrought aluminum (heading 7601); (b) aluminum bars, rods, and profiles (heading 7604); (c) aluminum wire (heading 7605); (d) aluminum plate, sheet, strip, and foil (flat rolled products) (headings 7606 and 7607); (e) aluminum tubes and pipes and tube and pipe fitting (headings 7608 and 7609); and (f) aluminum castings and forgings (HTSUS 7616.99.5160 and 7616.99.5170), including any subsequent revisions to these HTSUS classifications