Frequently Asked Questions

 

Section 232 Steel and Aluminium Exclusions

 

Where do I find the most recent forms and guides for exclusion requests, objections, rebuttals, and sur-rebuttals?

Companies can find the most recent forms and guides for both steel and aluminum requests on www.regulations.gov. The specific links are:

 

Steel

    1)Steel Exclusion Requests

Steel Exclusion Request Guide

    2)Steel Objection Filing

Steel Objection Filing Guide

    3)Steel Rebuttal Form

Steel Rebuttal Guide

    4)Steel Sur-rebuttal Form

Steel Sur-rebuttal Guide

    5)Steel Project-Specific Quota Exclusion Form - Look for “Exclusion Requests for Expedited Relief from Quantitative Limits – Existing Contract”

 

Aluminum

    1)Aluminum Exclusion Request

Aluminum Exclusion Request Guide

    2)Aluminum Objection Filing

Aluminum Objection Filing Guide

    3)Aluminum Rebuttal Form

Aluminum Rebuttal Guide

    4)Aluminum Sur-rebuttal Form

Aluminum Sur-rebuttal Guide

 


On what basis will a product exclusion be granted?

A product exclusion will be granted if the article is not produced in the United States: (1) in sufficient and reasonably available amount; (2) satisfactory quality; or (3) there is a specific national security consideration warranting an exclusion.

 

What is the process for reviewing product exclusion requests?

The Department of Commerce reviews each request for conformance with the submission requirements. Those requirements are set forth in the Federal Register Notice of September 11, 2018 (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-09-11/pdf/2018-19662.pdf).

 

Once a request is posted, there is a 30-day public comment period. If there are no objections filed against a request, the 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 denied and the requester is provided CBP contact information. If CBP determines the HTSUS code is accurate, the request is approved if there are no national security concerns. The decision is then posted on www.regulations.gov.

 

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

 

The Department 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.

 

What are the most common errors companies make in submitting Exclusion Requests that results in the requests not being posted for public comment?

Below is a list of some of the most common errors found in Exclusion Requests:

 

 

Section

Common Form Completion Problems

1.c

Parent organization - type activity is not being declared using the drop-down choices.  Question is left blank.

2.a

1) Average annual consumption – some companies do not provide data;

2) Data on Exclusion Request provided in 1.d does not have to agree with data provided in 2.a

2.c

Some companies fail to complete this section

2.h

Some companies fail to identify the U.S. ports that will receive the imported steel or aluminum product; or they name port operators -- but do not identify the port.

2.i

One or both parts of this two-part question may not be completed

2.k

Companies fail to cite a standards organization for their product

3.a

Chemical composition – For steel Exclusion Requests a common problem is a failure to provide iron content values; for aluminum Exclusion requests companies fail to provide aluminum content values.  Companies wanting to make Objection Filings will want this information.

Total values of chemicals declared should be around 99-100%.

Chemical composition IS NOT proprietary information.  The composition of steel and aluminum is easily defined with a mass spectrometer.

3.b

Specs

Typically, the critical dimensions are thickness, width and height.  For cylindrical products outside diameter (height).

A major problem occurs when companies do not follow the directions and attempt to respond for a product with a range of critical sizes – ¼”, ½”, ¾”, 1” thick plate steel or aluminum or pipe for example with a range of diameters.

When there is a significant difference between minimum and maximum reported values, convert the specifications from millimeter to inches to determine whether company declaration covers multiple product sizes.

3.b Strength

In most instances there should be a declaration either for tensile, strength, yield strength, or hardness.   One exception of slab, which is relaxed metal without these performance parameters.

3.b

Toughness

There should be a declaration either for tear testing, impact testing for products where durability, deformation, and failure are a concern.

3.b Ductility

Data on metal ductility should be provided where metal deformation and bendability are performance concerns.

3.c. Surface Finish

When someone declares that surface finish and/or smoothness is important, then they should provide a Profilometer score. 

4.e-4.h

Companies are failing to click “Yes” or “No” in the drop-down box; Where they write the response in the Comment Box, that is acceptable.

5.a-5.d

Companies are failing to click “Yes” or “No” in the drop-down box; Where they write the response in the Comment Box, that is acceptable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will I know if my product exclusion request has been granted or denied?

Once the product exclusion request has been processed, the decision will be posted on www.regulations.gov. The title of the initial exclusion request will be changed to reflect whether it has been granted or denied, and the Decision Memo can be found under “comments received”.

 

Please refer to the Decision Memo Guides for more detailed instructions:

Steel: How to find my Steel Decision Memo Guide

Aluminum: How to find my Aluminum Decision Memo Guide

 

Will the Department of Commerce identify the reason for the decision?

For each Exclusion Request the Department of Commerce will post a Decision Memo identifying whether the request is granted or denied. If the

request is denied due to an incorrect HTSUS classification, the Decision Memo will provide information how on to obtain a correct HTSUS classification from CBP. If the request is denied for other reasons, the Decision Memo will state the reason.

 

How are requesters notified once a final determination has been made?

Individual requesters will not be notified once a decision is made. Decision Memos will be posted on www.regulations.gov, as a document attached to the initial Exclusion Request. Please monitor www.regulations.gov for updates on your specific exclusion request.

 

Where can I find the decision?

Decision Memos will be posted on www.regulations.gov as a document attached to the initial Exclusion Request. The title of the original Exclusion Request on www.regulations.gov will also be changed to reflect the status of the request.

 

How do I use my granted product exclusion?

CBP has provided detailed instructions on using your granted product exclusion. Please consult CSMS #18-000378 for further instructions.

 

Am I eligible for retroactive refund?

If you have been granted an exclusion, you are eligible for a retroactive refund. Granted product exclusions are retroactive to the date the request for exclusion was submitted to www.regulations.gov.

 

How do I get a retroactive refund?

CBP has provided detailed instructions on how to receive a retroactive refund. Please consult CSMS #18-000378 for further instructions on receiving retroactive relief if available.

 

What if a company disagrees with a denial?

If a company disagrees with the denial, the requester may file a new exclusion request and utilize the comments section to provide supporting information. This information could include, for example, the documentation of the inability or refusal of the objector(s) to provide the product.

 

My original Exclusion Request was denied for HTS-related discrepancies. I have now confirmed the correct HTS code and am resubmitting. I understand that if Commerce grants my resubmission, I will be eligible for relief back to the date of my original submission. How do I highlight that my resubmission falls under this category?

If you were denied due to an incorrect HTS code, you are eligible to re-submit and have your final decision tied back to your original submission date. The only substantial change that will be allowed is the change to the HTS code. If any other information is changed, it will not be considered a re-submission. Inconsequential changes (POC has changed due to a retirement etc.) will be allowed. A resubmission can only be tied to one exclusion request. The requester will email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and provide the tracking number for their original exclusion request and their resubmission. Only one resubmission per email.

How long is my granted product exclusion effective?

Generally, an exclusion is granted for one year from the date of signature. Companies are also able to obtain retroactive relief for the period of time between the date of submittal and the date it was granted. Please see your Decision Memo for this information.

 

May approved Exclusion Requests be transferred to other internal or external organizations?

No. The use of an Exclusion by any entity other than the organization that filed the original Exclusion Request is prohibited. This does not include if a company changes names or is bought by another company.

 

If my organization receives a product exclusion, is there a chance that it could be revoked?

The Department of Commerce will not move to revoke granted product exclusions unless it has been determined that submitted information was falsified or there was a technical issue that resulted in an inadvertent approval.

 

How do I notify CBP of my granted exclusion?

CBP will receive a notification from the Department of Commerce of any company and product to be excluded from the applicable tariff or quantitative limitation. You will be required to provide CBP with your granted Exclusion Request number that is provided by the Department of Commerce.

 

When does my exclusion become effective?

If you are granted an exclusion, it will be effective five days after the decision has been posted on www.regulations.gov.

How long after I submit a form will I see it posted on regulations?

If an exclusion request is submitted properly, it will be posted on regulations.gov once it has been reviewed and processed. If the exclusion request is rejected during initial review, the company’s point of contact will receive an email explaining why. The company will then have the opportunity to file a new exclusion request with the proper and complete information.

How long after the comment period closes will I see a decision posted?

Once the comment period closes, the process depends on whether the exclusion request receives objections. If there are no objections, the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reviews the HTSUS code cited in the submission for accuracy. If CBP determines the code is inaccurate, the request is denied, and the requester is given CBP contact information. If CBP determines the HTSUS code is accurate, and there are no national security concerns, then the request is approved. If an objection is posted, the Department of Commerce will re-open the exclusion request for a rebuttal period of 7 calendar days. If a rebuttal is posted, the Department of Commerce will re-open the exclusion request for a sur-rebuttal period of 7 calendar days. Once the request and all supplemental forms are reviewed and processed, a decision will be posted on regulations.gov.

When can I file a rebuttal?

Companies can file a rebuttal if and when an objection has been posted. They will have 7 days from when the objection is posted to submit a rebuttal. A separate rebuttal is needed for each objection you wish to respond to.

When can I file a sur-rebuttal?

Companies can file a sur-rebuttal if and when a rebuttal has been posted. They have 7 days from when the rebuttal is posted to submit a sur-rebuttal. A separate sur-rebuttal is needed for each rebuttal you wish to respond to.

How can I make changes to the name of the importer of record or foreign suppliers that I listed on an exclusion request under review or on one that has been granted?

Request for changes to the importer of record can only be made for exclusion requests that have already been approved. If you have an issue with the IOR listed in your approved exclusion request, please: Email the reason 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. with subject line: IOR Change.

 

Why can’t I list the name of my importer of record and/or foreign suppliers as confidential business information?

The name of the IOR or foreign supplier is not considered confidential business information. Future exclusion requests that list “business confidential” in those questions will not be posted.

 

What is the smallest volume of product I can request an exclusion on?

Quantities below 1kg are not able to be administered by CBP and therefore will be denied.

What process do I have to follow if I am requesting an exclusion from a country subject to a quota?

Companies requesting from a quota country should indicate “yes” in section 5.e of the exclusion request form. The process is the same as submitting a tariff-based exclusion request.

What if I am requesting an exclusion from a quota country?

For cases that were filed prior to September 11, 2018, the process will depend on whether the requests contain only quota countries or a combination of quota and tariff countries. Requests with only quota countries will be opened for a thirty-day comment period that will allow other companies to file objections. A list of these refiled requests will be publicly posted. Conversely, for requests with both quota and tariff countries, companies have the option of either being approved for exclusion from the tariff portion, while being denied for the quota portion, or being denied entirely. For cases that were filed or posted on or after September 11th, 2018, the process will be the same for all requests.

Where do I submit my Confidential Business Information (CBI) for rebuttal/sur-rebuttal forms?

CBI for rebuttals/sur-rebuttals can be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please refer to the forms and guides for complete instructions.

How do I know which stage of the process my request is in?

Please reference the rebuttal/sur-rebuttal finder to know what stage your request is in. You can find these documents on www.commerce.gov/232

Which countries are subject to quotas for steel and aluminum imports?

Quantitative limitations are in place for steel imports from Argentina, Brazil and South Korea and for aluminum imports from Argentina.

Are imports from Australia subject to a tariff or quota?

Australia is currently not subject to steel or aluminum tariffs or quotas.

What are the tariffs for Turkey?

Turkey has a 50 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

Why are exclusions being allowed for products from those countries?

There are certain products from quota countries that may not be available in sufficient volume or quality, or may merit exclusions. Any such exclusion requests will be reviewed under the existing criteria and process for tariff exclusions.

There are also certain projects contracted for before the tariffs were announced which require delivery of steel products from quota countries but those quotas are already filled. If U.S. companies can certify they meet specific criteria, the Department of Commerce will grant an exclusion that will be valid no longer than through March 31, 2019. This is to ensure facility projects are not significantly delay or disrupted.

What criteria will companies seeking an expedited quota exclusion need to satisfy?

The criteria are: i) the party requesting relief must have entered into a written contract for production and shipment of such steel article before March 8, 2018; (ii) such contract specifies the quantity of such steel article that is to be produced and shipped to the United States consistent with a schedule contained in such contract; (iii) such steel article is to be used to construct a facility in the United States and such steel article cannot be procured from a supplier in the United States to meet the delivery schedule and specifications contained in such contract; (iv) the payments made pursuant to such contract constitute 10 percent or less of the cost of the facility under construction; and (v) lack of relief from the quantitative limitations on such steel article would significantly disrupt or delay completion of the facility being constructed in the United States with the steel article specified in such contract.

In addition, the party requesting this exclusion must provide a sworn statement signed by its chief executive officer and the chief legal officer attesting that (i) the steel article for which relief is sought and the associated contract meet all of the criteria for relief set forth in clause 2 of this proclamation; (ii) the party requesting relief will accurately report to CBP, in the manner that CBP prescribes, the quantity of steel articles entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, pursuant to any grant of relief; and (iii) the quantity of steel articles entered pursuant to a grant of relief will not exceed the quantity specified in such contract for delivery on or before March 31, 2019.

Where do I find the form for the expedited exclusion request?

Please go to the BIS website and look for “Exclusion Requests for Expedited Relief from Quantitative Limits – Existing Contract”.

How do I submit an expedited quota exclusion?

Please email your completed form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Will excluded products count against the quotas?

Products excluded from the quotas under the existing exclusion criteria will count against the quota until the applicable quantitative limitation has been reached, but not be subject to the tariffs.

Products excluded from quotas under the expedited exclusion process will count against the quota until the applicable quantitative limitation has been reached, and will be subject to the tariffs.

I have additional questions about the exclusion process, who do I contact?

For questions about the exclusion process, please email or call: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202-482-4757 for aluminium-related inquiries and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202-482-5642 for steel-related inquiries.

Last Updated: December 21, 2018

   
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