Today, President Donald J. Trump signed a proclamation allowing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to provide targeted relief from quotas imposed under Section 232 on steel from South Korea, Argentina, and Brazil, and aluminum from Argentina.
“President Trump has once again shown his commitment to American workers and businesses, protecting our national security from the threat posed by steel and aluminum imports,” said Secretary Ross. “This proclamation provides the Department the same product exclusion authority for quotas that we already have for tariffs.”
Companies can apply for product exclusions based on insufficient quantity or quality available from U.S. steel or aluminum producers. In such cases, an exclusion from the quota may be granted and no tariff would be owed.
In a limited number of cases, steel articles are being used in a facility construction project in the United States that were contracted for purchase prior to the decision to impose quotas, and cannot presently enter into the United States because a quota has already been reached. In such a case, an exclusion from the quota may be granted, but the product may only be imported upon payment of the 25% tariff.
In January 2018, Secretary Ross submitted two reports to the President on the effects of steel and aluminum imports on the national security of the United States. The reports found that steel and aluminum are being imported into the United States in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security as defined in section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
On March 8, President Trump took action to protect U.S. national security by putting in place a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. The tariffs entered into effect for most countries on March 23. After negotiations, quotas were placed on steel imports from Argentina, Brazil and South Korea and for aluminum imports from Argentina in lieu of the tariffs.
Companies previously have been able to apply for exclusion from the tariffs if U.S. producers cannot supply a given product in sufficient quality or quantity, or if there are other specific national security concerns.