Stainless steel factoryOn April 30, 2018, the President issued two new Proclamations regarding the 232 tariffs imposed on imports of steel and aluminum articles into the United States.  The new Proclamations modify the previous steel and aluminum Proclamations with respect to imports from Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.

Continue Reading President Continues 232 Exemptions for Certain Countries, Announces Quota on Imports of Steel from South Korea

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, U.S. imports of steel from South Korea will be subject to a product-specific quota equivalent to 70 percent of the average annual import volume of such products during the period 2015-17. Further details on the quota have not been released and the President has raised doubts about whether or when it will go into effect by stating in a speech that he might hold up the deal until after a deal is made with North Korea on denuclearization.

The apparent agreement on steel was part of a larger agreement to amend and modify the Korean-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).  A USTR Fact Sheet on the agreement can be found here.

For further information, please contact Nithya Nagarajan, Stephen Brophy, or Jeffrey Neeley.

Stainless steel factoryCountry Exemptions

On March 22, 2018, the President issued new Proclamations temporarily exempting imports from certain countries from the steel and aluminum tariffs that were announced in Proclamations 9704 and 9705 of March 8, 2018. The President had previously exempted imports from Canada and Mexico and the new Proclamations add exemptions for imports from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, European Union member countries, and South Korea. However, the Proclamations make clear that the exemptions, including the exemptions for Canada and Mexico, are temporary and that tariffs will go into effect on imports from an exempted country on May 1, 2018 unless the country has reached an agreement with the United States on an alternative means to remove the threat to national security posed by imports of steel articles from the country. If any agreements are reached and any countries are exempted on a long term basis, the President will consider adjustments to the tariff level imposed on non-exempt countries.

In the meantime, the President may consider quotas on imports from exempt countries. If a quota is imposed, the quota amount imposed will take into account all imports of steel and aluminum since January 1, 2018.

While the country exemptions may extend beyond May 1, depending on the progress on trade negotiations, there is no guarantee of such extensions.

Continue Reading President Exempts Countries from Steel and Aluminum Tariffs, Makes Product Exclusions Retroactive

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?

Continue Reading Can U.S. Allies Sidestep New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs?

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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. Continue Reading Commerce Releases Steel and Aluminum Section 232 Reports

Husch Blackwell’s Jeffrey Neeley authored an article, “Solar Panel Tariff Creates New Uncertainty” that appeared in Law360 this week. The article discusses in depth the proclamation signed by President Trump last week. From the article:

[T]he relief announced provides that the first 2.5 gigawatts of imported cells are excluded from the additional tariffs. The use of an exemption for the first 2.5 gigawatts makes the relief a form of a “tariff rate quota,” meaning that tariffs for cells only apply if imports rise above the quota amount of 2.5 gigawatts. This type of relief has been imposed in the past, including on certain steel products.

Read the full post on Law360.

solar panels - energyOn January 22, 2018, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that the Trump Administration is granting relief for the domestic solar panels and modules industry under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. This confirmed the fears of many consumers that there substantial additional duties would be imposed on those products. USTR announced that the relief would come in the form of a tariff increase of 30% in the first year, decreasing to 25% in year two, 20% in year three, and then to 15% in year four. On January 23, 2018, President Trump signed the Proclamation implementing the relief. The relief will go into effect on February 7, 2018. For additional information on the implications of this decision, you can read the full blog post on Husch Blackwell’s Emerging Energy Insights.

 

Container Ship in the Industrial Port of Miami, FloridaOn Tuesday, January 23, 2018, President Trump signed the Presidential Proclamation to Facilitate Adjustment to Competition from Imports of Large Residential Washers, thereby announcing the President’s decision regarding the investigation of large residential washers (LRWs) under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 (the LRW Safeguard Investigation). A copy of the Proclamation can be found here.

Continue Reading President Trump Announces Decision on Section 201 Safeguard Investigation of Large Residential Washers