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  May 17th, 2018 | Written by

Members of Congress Pushing Improvements to Section 232 Tariff Exclusion Requests

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  • 39 members of Congress sent letter to Commerce Department on Section 232 tariffs.
  • Members of Congress want improvements for US manufacturers seeking exclusions from Section 232 tariffs.
  • US manufacturers want exclusions from Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports for products unavailable in US.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), and 37 other Members of Congress sent a letter to the Commerce Department seeking “significant improvement” to the process by which US manufacturers seek exclusions from the Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum for products that are not available in the US.

The exclusion process, overseen by the Department of Commerce, is creating tremendous confusion, they say, in the manufacturing sector, with smaller companies in particular struggling to navigate its vague terms and uncertain deadlines. The Commerce Department is reportedly buried beneath a backlog of thousands of exclusion applications already submitted, with little indication that it has the means to carry out the review process more efficiently.

The Congressional letter calls on the Commerce Department to make 10 changes to the exclusion process, ranging from extending relief to companies experiencing delays in the department’s application review process to taking measures to “[review] the impact of the tariffs on the economy and downstream users and implement a plan to sunset them if they prove to have a significant negative impact.”

The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users applauded the congressional effort. “We commend Representatives Walorski and Kind as well as their colleagues for standing up for US manufacturing,” said Coalition spokesperson Paul Nathanson. “Improvements to the product exclusion process would provide at least a bare minimum of relief amidst to the chaos that these tariffs have already created to downstream companies who use steel and aluminum.”

US steel and aluminum-using manufacturers are already reporting shortages of both commodities, causing price spikes of 30 percent to 40 percent and doubling or even tripling delivery times since the tariffs were put in place in late March.

“Manufacturers who were optimistic because of tax and regulatory reform are now facing an uncertain future because of these tariffs,” said Nathanson.  “Without reliable access to certain products, US manufacturing companies will quickly lose out to foreign competitors who can make the same finished products at lower prices—and then ship those products into the US tariff-free.

Tariffs are taxes.  We call on President Trump to put an end to these tariffs now,” concluded Nathanson. “There are ways to deal with global steel and aluminum overcapacity issues without punishing our own companies and communities.”