shipping containersOn September 7, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), announced a series of significant changes to the current procedures for companies seeking product-specific exclusions to the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
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On August 29, 2018, President Trump issued proclamations announcing that companies will be able to request exclusions from the Section 232 quantitative limitations (i.e., quotas) for certain steel and aluminum products imported in to the United States.  In particular, this affects steel and aluminum imports from Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea.
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Nowadays, the only thing that remains certain in the industry of domestic and global trade is the unpredictability of influential decisions made by the U.S. government and how those decisions will impact trading laws and regulations.

There has been much to say regarding Section 232 and related tariff concerns. On Husch Blackwell’s TMT Industry Insider

Stainless steel factoryThe Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it had reached an agreement with South Korea to provide the country with a long term exemption from the 25 percent tariff on steel products imposed by the President under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862). Instead,

White HouseOn Monday March 19, 2018, the Department of Commerce published its interim rule for the submission of exclusions requests for Section 232 tariffs announced by the White House on March 8, 2018.

The rules published by Commerce are interim rules and comments on the rules must be received by Commerce no later than May 18, 2018. Meanwhile, the rules announced will be in effect.

U.S. importers and users now will need to manage to understand, navigate, and plan, based upon the onerous task of requesting exclusions. There are two different exclusion processes, which are distinct: (1) country exclusions which are handled by the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) office; and (2) product specific exclusions which will be handled by Commerce.


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Stainless steel factoryThe recent announcement by the White House that it intends to unilaterally impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports from all countries except Canada and Mexico has created significant uncertainty among foreign exporters.

It is of great import that Canada and Mexico are excluded from the imposition of section 232 duties for the time being. The European Union, Australia and South Korea have expressed a desire for similar exclusions to be applied to them. In fact, the EU and Australia are almost assured of an exemption based upon press reports. But where does that leave other important allies such as Turkey, India, Brazil and a host of other steel-exporting nations?


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White House

President Trump announced on Thursday, March 1, that he will impose tariffs on imports of certain steel and aluminum products. We anticipate the President will formally sign the trade measures announced today next week and that they will include an additional tariff of 25% on imports of steel products and 10% on imports of aluminum products covered under the proclamation.


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The Department of Commerce released its reports recommending remedies with respect to the Section 232 investigations of steel and aluminum today, February 16. The steel report was submitted to the White House on January 11, 2018 and started a statutory 90-day clock for the President to make a decision on a course of action. The aluminum report was submitted on January 19, 2018 and similarly started the statutory 90 days for the decision.
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