US to remove 30 steel, aluminum products from tariff exclusion list

The US Commerce Department will remove 30 steel and aluminum product types from its general approved exclusions (GAE) list, again subjecting these items to duties under the nation’s Section 232 metal tariffs, the department said Dec. 9.

“Based on Commerce’s review of the public comments received in response to the Dec. 14 [2020] rule and additional analysis conducted by Commerce on the Section 232 exclusion request submissions, Commerce determined that a subset of the GAEs added in the Dec. 14 rule no longer meets the criteria for inclusion as a GAE and should therefore be removed,” Commerce said in an interim final rule published in the Federal Register.

The 26 steel products and four aluminum products removed from the GAE list will again be subject to tariffs beginning Dec. 27.

In 2018, the Trump administration utilized Section 232 to apply 25% and 10% tariff rates to broad categories of steel and aluminum products. However, the tariff program allowed importers to request that certain shipments be excluded from the tariffs, on a case-by-case basis, if the subject items were not produced in the US in sufficient quantity or quality or for national security considerations.

Commerce established the GAE list in a previous interim final rule on Dec. 14, 2020, to improve the efficiency of the exclusion request process as importers would not be required to file individual exclusion requests for GAE items.

The GAE designation granted a blanket tariff exemption for specific products if previous exclusion requests for the subject products did not receive objections and if such a blanket exemption was warranted for all importers.

The initial list included 123 steel and aluminum products as GAEs, though the list can be revised at Commerce’s discretion. The list now includes 93 GAE items following the removals.

— Nick Lazzaro