The U.S. Commerce Department published a final ruling on Friday that establishes June 28, 2021 as the effective start date for the International Trade Administration’s Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis System and clarifies certain licensing requirements for the new program.
As reported previously, implementation was to have taken place earlier this year but was delayed to allow Commerce to finalize the license application system and take more time to consider and respond to feedback received from stakeholders during the public comment period.
Once AIM takes effect, U.S. importers will need to secure licenses for all covered aluminum imports and report information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Revisions From Proposed Rule
When importing subject aluminum products, license applicants will need to identify the countries where the first and second-largest volume of primary aluminum used in the manufacture of the product was smelted and the country where the product was most recently cast.
The “country of most recent cast” refers to the location where the aluminum was last liquefied by heat and cast into a solid state. This expression replaces the initially proposed “country of pouring” that public comments had identified as being prone to confusion and not aligned with industry terminology.
Also in response to concerns raised by stakeholders, Commerce will now be allowing importers to state the countries of primary aluminum origin as “unknown” until June 28, 2022. The year-long reprieve is to allow U.S. manufacturers to update their purchasing systems and better track this information.
Additionally, regarding imported aluminum products containing only one source of primary aluminum or that are comprised partially or entirely of secondary aluminum, Commerce will allow importers to state that the country(ies) of smelt fields are “not applicable” in these cases. The department says it understands that secondary aluminum can be recycled and remelted endlessly and is not attempting to track secondary inputs.
In the Federal Register notice, Commerce confirmed that licenses will only be required for the 16 product groups and 66 HTS codes as set out by the ITA here.
Certain entries are exempt from the requirement, however, including products that are directly imported into a bonded warehouse. Licenses will only be needed if the product is withdrawn for consumption from a warehouse.
For reasons already noted, importers will also not be required to state the origin of any secondary aluminum used in the final product.
Commerce states that it “will seek additional comment from parties on potential improvements or changes to the system in a subsequent document.” One such example suggested is the added requirement for aluminum mill test certificates (as is already the case with monitored steel imports). The department indicates that interested parties will be able to further comment in this regard at a later date.