Section 232 National Security Investigation of Steel Imports

Information on the Exclusion Process

Background

On March 8, 2018, President Trump exercised his authority under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports, with exemptions for Canada and Mexico, to protect our national security.  The President’s Section 232 decision is the result of an investigation led by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).  U.S. Customs and Border Protection began collecting the tariffs on March 23, 2018.

In President Trump’s proclamation establishing the tariff under Section 232, the President authorized the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with other appropriate federal agency heads, to provide relief from the additional duties for any steel articles determined "not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality and is also authorized to provide such relief based upon specific national security considerations.  Such relief shall be provided for any article only after a request for exclusion is made by a directly affected party located in the United States.”

Process

The DOC reviews each request for conformance with the submission requirements. Those requirements are set forth in:

Once a request is submitted, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reviews the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) code cited in the submission for accuracy. If CBP determines the code is inaccurate, the request is rejected upon initial submission and the requester is provided CBP contact information and reason for rejection.

If CBP determines the HTSUS code is accurate, BIS conducts preliminary screening of the exclusion requests, if rejected the submitter is notified for the reason(s), if approved it is posted for a 30-day public comment period. If there are no objections filed against a request, and if there are no national security concerns, the request is approved.

If objections are submitted, the DOC reviews each objection for conformance with the submission requirements. If an objection is posted, the DOC will re-open the exclusion request for a rebuttal period of 7 calendar days. If a rebuttal is submitted, the DOC reviews each rebuttal for conformance with the submission requirements. If a rebuttal is posted, the DOC will re-open the exclusion request for a sur-rebuttal period of 7 calendar days.

The DOC reviews the exclusion request and the objection(s), rebuttal(s), and sur-rebuttal(s) to the request and determines whether the item is produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount; satisfactory quality; or if there is a specific national security consideration warranting an exclusion.

The U.S. Department of Commerce published detailed procedures to request exclusion from the steel and aluminum tariffs in the Federal Register:

Filing Exclusion requests

Only individuals or organizations using steel articles identified in Presidential Proclamations 9704 and 9705 and engaged in business activities in the United States may submit exclusion requests. Exclusion requests submitted on regulations.gov prior to June 13th, 2019 will be posted for a 30-day comment period on regulations.gov. Exclusion requests after June 13th, 2019 must be submitted on the new 232 Exclusions Portal.

For an exclusion requests to be considered, the exclusion requester must provide factual information on:

1) The single type of steel product they require using a 10-digit HTSUS code, including its specific dimension;

2) The quantity of product required (stated in kilograms) under a one-year exclusion;

3) A full description of the properties of the steel product it seeks to import, including chemical composition, dimensions, strength, toughness, ductility, magnetic permeability, surface finish, coatings, and other relevant data.

All exclusion requests will be reviewed for completeness. Only fully completed exclusion requests will be considered and posted for public review. All exclusion requests will be made available for public inspection. 

On June 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce published, “Implementation of New Commerce Section 232 Exclusions Portal” in the Federal Register Vol. 84, No. 111, 2019-12254. After June 13th, 2019 companies submitting new exclusions will be directed to submit at the 232 Exclusions Portal. Please refer to the 232 Exclusions Portal external user guide for detailed information on how to file exclusion requests on the 232 Exclusions Portal.

Follow the instructions below to register and file an exclusions request. A more detailed user-guide is available at www.commerce.gov/232 website.

  1. ) Go to https://www.commerce.gov/232 and select 232 Exclusions Portal
  2. ) Create an account on the new Portal Site.
  3. ) Once you have created an account, click the button that says: ‘Create New Exclusion Request’.
  4. ) Complete the online form with production information, organization information, importer of record, organization representative contact information, organization activity, product information, commercial names and source countries, and certification.
  5. ) Click “Submit Form”
  6. ) You will be able to view your request on your dashboard or home screen.

Filing Exclusion Objections, Rebuttals & Sur-rebuttals

If your organization manufactures steel products in the United States and wishes to object to an existing exclusion request, you have 30 days from the posting of an exclusion request to submit an objection. Any individual or organization in the United States may file an objection to an exclusion request. 

For an objection filing to be considered, organizations must provide factual information on:

1) The steel products that they manufacture in the United States,

2) The production capabilities at steel manufacturing facilities that they operate in the United States; and

3) The availability and delivery time of the products that they manufacture relative to the specific steel product that is subject to an exclusion request. 

If objections are submitted during the 30-day comment period, the DOC reviews each objection for conformance with the submission requirements. If the objection meets the requirements, it will be posted. Once an objection is posted, the DOC will re-open the exclusion request for a rebuttal period of 7 calendar days.

During these 7 days, the party requesting an exclusion will have the opportunity to submit the rebuttal form in response to the objection. If a rebuttal is submitted, the DOC also reviews each rebuttal for conformance with the submission requirements and posts rebuttals meeting the requirements.

If a rebuttal is posted, the DOC will re-open the exclusion request for a sur-rebuttal period of 7 calendar days. During these 7 days, the objecting party will be able to submit the sur-rebuttal form in response to the rebuttal.

If the requesting or objecting parties have confidential or proprietary business information (CBI) in their rebuttal or sur-rebuttal, they must provide a summary for a public submission, comply with the other requirements in paragraph (b)(5)(iii) of the relevant supplement to 15 CFR part 705, and send the CBI to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., respectively.

If the exclusion request was submitted on regulations.gov then you need to submit the objection on regulations.gov.

For objections submitted and posted on regulations.gov please follow the below steps:

For objections and sur-rebuttals submitted after June 13th, 2019, on the 232 Exclusions Portal, please refer to the 232 Exclusions Portal external user guide for filing objections and sur-rebuttals. Summary steps for posting an objection:

  • To begin creating the objection request, search for the exclusion request using the search box and entering the EXCLUSION REQUEST ID – or sorting by criteria, or manually searching for the exclusion request.
  • Organizations submitting an objection filing on an exclusion request should provide specific information on the product that their company can provide that is comparable to the steel product that is the subject of the exclusion request.
  • This objection request must be signed by an organization official specifically authorized to certify the document as being accurate and complete.
  • To upload supporting documents to the objection request, it must be in the form of a PDF. Once an objection is posted, the U.S. Department of Commerce will re-open the exclusion request for a rebuttal period of 7 calendar days.
  • If a rebuttal is posted, the U.S. Department of Commerce will re-open the exclusion request for a sur-rebuttal period of 7 calendar days. During these 7 days, the objecting party will be able to submit the sur-rebuttal form in response to the rebuttal.

 Contact

  • For questions concerning the exclusion process, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202-482-5642 for steel-related queries. (Contact Hours: M-F, 8:30am-5:00pm EST)
  • If you have issues uploading the forms on 232 exclusion portal, please contact Portal Support Help Desk at 1-202-482-3203 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (Contact Hours: M-F, 8:30am-5:00pm EST)
  • If you have issues uploading the forms on regulations.gov, please contact the www.regulations.gov Help Desk at 1-877-378-5457 (toll free) or 703-454-9859.

 

Last Updated: 6-18-2019, 4:00pm

   
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