Aluminium sector trade group Aluminum Association relayed to the United States Commerce Department its recommendations for adjusting Section 232 tariffs on aluminium and steel last week, advising it on changes it would like to see to the newly-created category of “general approved exclusions,” or GAE.
“Reflecting member feedback, we urged the department to revisit the newly created GAEs that took effect in December, and we highlighted a need to ensure that new certification requirements for exclusion requestors can effectively rein in exclusion requests for volumes that vastly exceed their historical consumption,” explained Aluminum Association CEO Tom Dobbins in a newsletter published by the Association.
“We will be watching the exclusion portal closely over the coming weeks to see how these new changes are playing out.”
At present, exclusions from Section 232 tariffs are given by the Commerce Department to countries who produce a variety of aluminium that it can show is not produced in sufficient quantities for national defense purposes. American aluminium producers are permitted to formally object to such requests if they so choose.
Commerce developed the GAE category for requestors to whom objections were not raised against in the application process.
However, the Association was less than pleased at the new GAE category, saying it was a “a surprising and unexpected action, implemented without any opportunity for formal or informal input by domestic producers, that we find to be troubling.”
“The absence of objections should not be taken to mean that the imposition of a tariff on such imports pursuant to Section 232 is unimportant generally to domestic producers of aluminum articles,” argued the Association’s vice president for government relations Lauren Wilk.
She went on that the exclusion process is extraordinarily burdensome for aluminium producers to keep up with, therefore the ability to apply for exclusions should be limited.
She also asked Commerce to stake out a policy that would decline to accept exclusion requests from non-market economies like the People’s Republic of China
“If the Department does not presume denial for exclusion requests involving products from non-market economies, the Department should allow stakeholders to oppose requests on the basis that the product originates from a designated non-market economy or is the likely result of transshipped non-market production,” she explained.