Commerce Seeks Comments on Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Import Tariffs and Quotas Exclusion Process

May 26, 2020

The Department of Commerce today published a notice requesting comments from the public on the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariff exclusion process. In particular, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is seeking public comments on “the appropriateness of the information requested and considered [by the Department] in applying the exclusion criteria, and the efficiency and transparency of the process employed.”

As of March 23, 2020, 179,128 exclusion requests have been received, 157,983 for steel and 21,145 for aluminum. Of those requests, 34,970 were rejected and 33,297 received objections. Decisions have been posted on 114,009 requests, with 78,569 granted and 25,440 denied.

BIS’s request for public comment concerns a variety of topics intended to either streamline or simplify the administrative process.  BIS included the following in its notice:

  • expanding or restricting eligibility requirements for requestors and objectors;
  • the factors considered in rendering decisions on exclusion requests
  • the definition of ‘‘product’’ governing when separate exclusion requests must be submitted;
  • potential blanket approvals or denials of exclusion requests for product types that have received no objections or have never been granted;
  • issuing an interim denial memo to requesters who receive a partial approval of their exclusion request until they purchase the domestically available portion of their requested quantity;
  • requiring objectors to submit factual evidence that they can in fact manufacture the product in the quality and amount, and during the time period, to which they attest in the objection;
  • in the rebuttal/surrebuttal phase, requiring that both requestor and objector demonstrate in their filings that they have attempted to negotiate in good faith an agreement on the said product (e., producing legitimate commercial correspondence).

Comments can be submitted on the Federal rulemaking portal and must be submitted by July 10, 2020.