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House Members: Metal Tariff Exclusions Too Slow

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Category: Chemicals / Metals

 A bipartisan group of 39 House members wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on May 7 to voice frustration that the process for excluding specific steel and aluminum products from Section 232 tariffs is slow and cumbersome. The letter reads in part:

“We appreciate that, in response to Member and constituent requests, you have implemented a product exclusion process for the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. However, we are concerned that over a month after the process began, the review process is moving far too slowly and that it places a significant burden on manufacturers, especially small businesses. We write today to urge you to make needed changes to that process that would improve how it functions and provide relief to small businesses.”

The letter offers recommendations to simplify the process, including publishing a FAQ page for companies and allowing trade associations to file requests on behalf of their members.

On April 30, the White House announced a “final” deferral until June 1 of metal tariffs for Canada and Mexico — noting the NAFTA negotiations — and the EU. The European Commission continues to reject proposals from the U.S. government that trade partners, especially close economic and strategic allies like Europe, should impose voluntary restrictions on steel and aluminum exports in exchange for a permanent exemption from tariffs. The Commission has indicated it is prepared to discuss lifting barriers to trade across the Atlantic — for instance, lowering tariffs on automobiles or other industrial goods — but only if given a permanent exemption from the steel and aluminum tariffs first. The Chamber spoke with Dutch Ambassador Henne Schuwer and Swedish Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter on these issues in the last two weeks. Argentina, Australia, and Brazil are reportedly close to final agreement on quotas to avoid tariffs.

Separately, in response to the 8,700 requests for exclusions that Commerce has received, Secretary Ross has asked Senate appropriators for additional funding to keep up with the requests

Source: US Chamber of Commerce

Published: June 18, 2018

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