U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) today wrote to the Secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department urging improvements to the Commerce Department’s process for excluding products from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
As noted in a Finance Committee release, the senators expressed concerns that the product exclusion process lacks “basic due process and procedural fairness for stakeholders, especially American small businesses” and “appropriate mechanisms to prevent the … tariffs and product exclusion process from being abused for anticompetitive purposes.”
“With the Section 232 tariffs already in effect as of March 23, 2018, the request and objection forms force petitioners and objectors to choose between expediting their submissions, which can be denied for any inaccurate or incomplete information, and enduring unwarranted tariff charges or product exclusions for lengthier periods of time…. Given the public interest in an expedient product exclusion process that offers due process and procedural fairness, we urge you to implement improvements to each area of concern outlined above as soon as practicable. We stand ready to assist as appropriate and request, within two weeks, your response to our concerns and a description of your plans and progress to address those concerns.”
Two presidential proclamations (March 2018) concerning imports of steel and aluminum announced tariffs would be imposed following investigations under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 of the effect of imports of steel and aluminum on the national security of the United States. The proclamations authorized the Commerce Secretary to grant exclusions from the duties upon request of affected parties if the steel or aluminum articles are determined not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality or based upon specific national security considerations. The president directed the Secretary to promulgate regulations to set forth the procedures for an exclusion process.
In March 2018, an interim final rule addressed the process for requests for exclusions from the tariffs being imposed on certain imports of steel and aluminum into the United States. Read TaxNewsFlash-Trade & Customs
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