Commerce Department Opens To Public Input On Section 232 Exclusion Process

Commerce Department Opens To Public Input On Section 232 Exclusion Process

The United States Commerce Department is seeking input into ways to streamline the exclusion process for tariffs and quotas on aluminium and steel imposed by the Trump Administration in 2018.

The department’s Bureau of Industry and Security opened commentary today and will accept input on the process through July 10.

“The Department of Commerce is continually looking for ways to improve the exclusion process for Section 232 tariffs and quotas,” noted Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, in a press release.

“We want these critical national security measures to be applied effectively while avoiding unnecessary impacts on downstream American industries.”

BIS said it is soliciting input on a broad array of issues surrounding the Section 232 tariffs on aluminium and steel, including whether the information sought in the process is appropriate and the process by which the department decides upon which companies and what sorts of products receive an exclusion.

The department says it conducts a thorough analysis of each request it receives, and it allows domestic producers to object to exclusion requests by allowing the firms to demonstrate that they are able to produce a similar product in sufficient quantities to meet national security needs.

The Trump Administration imposed blanket tariffs on aluminuim and steel pursuant to an investigation under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 launched within weeks of the inauguration. The resulting tariffs against aluminium and steel imports deemed vital to the national security represented to some the first shot across the bow of the People’s Republic of China in what became a wider trade war.

In subsequent weeks several countries sought temporary waivers from provisional tariffs through the time of the tariffs’ permanent imposition, and many more countries applied for permanent exemptions after the tariffs themselves became permanent. Most countries that obtained permanent waivers agreed instead to abide by strict import quotas, and many other countries who failed to obtain exemptions launched both unilateral and coordinated responses against the Trump Administration in the following weeks and months.