In an interim rule set to be published next week, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security announced that it was revising certain aspects of the process for requesting exclusions from the additional duties and quantitative limits applicable to imports of aluminum and steel under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
The proposed changes are the result of BIS’s effort to revamp the exclusion request process after continued criticism from the public and lawmakers.
Note: As an interim rule, a final public comment period will be available for stakeholders to weigh in on the modifications.
The interim rule makes three major changes to the existing 232 exclusion process:
- It establishes a “more efficient method for approving exclusions where objections have not been received in the past for certain steel or aluminum articles.” BIS will create “General Approved Exclusions” that may be used by any importer, which the Bureau estimates will result in a decrease of 5,000 exclusion requests annually. It should be noted that there is no provision for retroactive relief when using a GAE — the duty exemption applies to goods that are entered for consumption, or withdrawn from a warehouse for consumption, on or after the GAE’s effective date.
- To improve efficiency by cutting down the incidence of companies submitting large numbers of unneeded exclusion requests, BIS proposes to establish a new certification for importers seeking an exclusion that will include the volume of imports required, which generally should be consistent with their past use.
- BIS also intends to revise its interpretation of the term “immediately” in connection with the requirement that objectors provide the steel/aluminum articles within a certain period of time in order to ensure there is no unreasonable discrepancy (as currently exists) between the delivery standard allowed to U.S. objectors and foreign suppliers.
Comments on the proposed changes from stakeholders and other interested parties will be accepted until February 21, 2021, and should be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking portal on Docket number BIS-2020-0022 or RIN 0694-AH55.
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