Dear AIIS Members,

Just a quick note before the holiday weekend to inform you that the Commerce Department announced today that it will once again seek industry comments on the Section 232 tariff-exclusion process for steel and aluminum products. 

Commerce will publish a Federal Register notice (attached) on Tuesday, May 26 announcing that it is “seeking public comment on the appropriateness of the information requested and considered in applying the exclusion criteria, and the efficiency and transparency of the process employed.”

All comments are due by July 10 .

I’ve included at the bottom of this email the topics for potential comments as listed in the Federal Register Notice.

Have a great holiday weekend.

—– 

Topics for Comments on the Commerce Department’s Section 232 Steel/Aluminum Tariffs Exclusion Process:

1.       The information sought on the exclusion request, objection, rebuttal and surrebuttal forms;

2.       expanding or restricting eligibility requirements for requestors and objectors;

3.       the Section 232 Exclusions Portal;

4.       the requirements set forth in Federal Register Notices, 83 FR 12106, 83 FR 46026, and 84 FR 26751;

5.       the factors considered in rendering decisions on exclusion requests;

6.       the information published with the decisions;

7.       the BIS website guidance and training videos;

8.       the definition of “product” governing when separate exclusion requests must be submitted; and

9.       incorporation of steel and aluminum derivative products into the product exclusion process.

In addition, Commerce states that comments can also address potential revisions to the exclusion process, including, but not limited to:

1.       One-year blanket approvals of exclusion requests for product types that have received no objections as of a baseline date (see Annex 1 and 2);

2.       one-year blanket denials of exclusion requests for product types that have received 100 percent objection rates and never been granted as of a baseline date (see Annex 3 and 4);

3.       time-limited annual or semi-annual windows during which all product-specific exclusion requests and corresponding objections may be submitted and decided;

4.       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;

5.       requiring requestors to make a good faith showing of the need for the product in the requested quantity, as well as that the product will in fact be imported in the quality and amount, and during the time period, to which they attest in the exclusion request (e.g., a ratified contract, a statement of refusal to supply the product by a domestic producer);

6.       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;

7.       setting a limit on the total quantity of product that a single company could be granted an exclusion for based on an objective standard, such as a specified percentage increase over a three year average;

8.       requiring that requesters citing national security reasons as a basis for an exclusion request provide specific, articulable and verifiable facts supporting such assertion (e.g., a Department of Defense contract requiring the product; a letter of concurrence from the head of a U.S. government agency or department that national security necessitates that the product be obtained in the quality, quantity and time frame requested);

9.       clarifying that the domestic product is “reasonably available” if it can be manufactured and delivered in a time period that is equal to or less than that of the imported product, as provided by requestor in its exclusion request;

10.   requiring that requestors, at the time of submission of their exclusion requests, demonstrate that they have tried to purchase this product domestically;

11.   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 (i.e., producing legitimate commercial correspondence). Any specific details about the commenters’ experience with the exclusion/objection process as background to their comment to this NOI would be helpful.

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Alexandra Jopp, jopp@aiis.org
American Institute for International Steel |Tel: (703) 245 8075
Visit us online at www.aiis.org
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