Steel & Aluminum Tariff Exclusions (Section 232)

Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

President Trump imposed tariffs on imports of certain steel mill and aluminum aluminum articles from most countries.  bases; first, he imposed a and 10% aluminum tariff under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Section 232 allows the President to impose tariffs for national security reasons. The full reports and recommendations prepared by Secretary Wilbur Ross are available here.

Steel Tariffs

The steel tariffs of 25% steel tariff are imposed against all countries of origin (not export), except Argentina, Australia, Brazil, and South Korea. A tariff of 50% is imposed on the same articles when the country of origin is Turkey.

Aluminum Tariffs

The aluminum tariffs of 10% are imposed against all countries of origin (not export), except Argentina and Australia.

South Korean Absolute Quota

Even though there is no additional duty from steel imported from South Korea, there is an absolute quota. That means that no imports may be entered into the United States for consumption (i.e., use) when the quota is met. Recently, however, the Commerce Department has opened up the exclusion process (discussed below) for goods which cannot be imported due to the absolute quota.

Section 232 Exclusion Requests

The section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum permit importers to request exclusions from certain products, on certain grounds. Initially, the official announcements and proclamations seemed to only permit exclusion requests on national security grounds, however, once the exclusion request form (steel) was published it seemed to permit exclusion requests to be filed for basically any reason (including insufficient U.S. availability, No U.S. Production, and “Other”).

In August 2018, the President expanded the exclusion program to allow requests to be excluded from the absolute quota imposed against South Korean steel. The exclusion requests will be granted to affected parties in the United States if:

  • the steel is not domestically produced in a sufficient or reasonably available amount or of a satsifactory quality; or,
  • specific national security considerations.

The government will also considered logistical challenges, such as the “ability to transport articles with the United States, and any other factors as the Secretary deems appropriate.”

The government is also allow for exclusions from absolute quota for steel to be used in the construction of a facility ordered under a contract dated before March 8, 2018, and the steel cannot be procured domestically.

Importers may be in a panic about the tariffs; they should not. They should calmly consider requesting exclusions for the products so that the new tariffs will not apply to them, and they will not be required to pay the extra duties. Although the exclusion process can be done by anyone, as always, hiring an experienced attorney to advocate for the exclusion of the particular products will help to ensure the best result possible.

Warning: This information on this page is subject to our general disclaimer, and only current through Last updated: September 28, 2018 at 17:35 pm. For legal advice, please contact us for a consultation.

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