Insights

Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exemptions Extended...For Now

By: Jonathan Creek, Associate
Date: 05/07/2018

On April 30, 2018, President Trump announced that he was extending exemptions for the steel and aluminum tariffs.[1] President Trump announced the 25% tariff on steel and the 10% tariff on aluminum in his original Presidential Proclamations on March 8. On March 22, President Trump announced he was granting temporary exemptions to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and the EU, which would last until May 1, 2018. The exemptions would become permanent if the countries could agree with the U.S. on alternative means to address the national security threat posed by the imports of steel and aluminum. South Korea and the U.S. were the first to come to an agreement.[2] In the April 30 Presidential Proclamations, President Trump announced that the U.S. has an agreement in principle with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. Because of these agreements, these three countries will be granted permanent exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs. These agreements are not finalized, and the terms of the agreements are not known yet. However, President Trump said he would consider re-imposing tariffs on these countries if the agreements were not finalized shortly.

Additionally, President Trump announced that discussions with Canada, Mexico, and the EU are currently ongoing. Because the discussions are ongoing, President Trump announced that he would be extending the exemptions for these countries from May 1 to June 1, 2018. Unless the countries are able to agree to satisfactory alternative means to address the threat to national security posed by imports of steel and aluminum from these countries, then the tariffs will become effective on June 1. The tariffs already apply to all non-exempted countries.

In addition to the country specific exemptions, companies can now apply for product specific exclusions. To date, there are approximately 130 filed aluminum exclusion requests, and 1,300 filed steel exclusion requests. Currently, exclusion requests focus on insufficient or no supply in the U.S. Many comments argue that there are little to no companies in the U.S. who are still producing some of these affected products. Additionally, companies have also made a variety of policy arguments such as negative environmental effects. Individuals or organizations who wish to file an exclusion for an affected product should do so as soon as possible.[3]

The steel and aluminum tariffs are a constantly evolving situation. Torres Law will continue to monitor any potential developments.

 

[1] Whitehouse.gov, Proclamations, Presidential Proclamation Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-adjusting-imports-steel-united-states-3/ (last visited May 1, 2018); Whitehouse.gov, Proclamations, Presidential Proclamation Adjusting Imports of Aluminum into the United States, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-adjusting-imports-aluminum-united-states-3/ (last visited May 1, 2018).

[3] Product exclusions can be filed at regulations.gov. Exclusions for aluminum products are filed under docket number BIS-2018-0002. Exclusions for steel products are filed under docket number BIS-2018-0006.

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