Trump’s tariffs: How is the exclusion process working?
On March 8, following recommendations by the Commerce Department, President Donald Trump imposed 25-percent tariffs on steel imports and 10-percent tariffs on aluminum imports. The Commerce Department put procedures in place to allow US companies to seek exemptions from those tariffs.
According to data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as of August 30, United States companies have made over 30,000 requests to the Commerce Department to be excluded from the tariffs. Of those, Commerce has posted decisions on only 4,358 of those requests, well under 15 percent of those pending. There is no opportunity for US manufacturers to refute an objection to their exemption request nor appeal a Commerce Department decision.
Sources tell Global Trade Daily that they expect the process to be extremely slow. One southern port filed for an exemption to the extra duties it had already paid to import container cranes from China needed to update port equipment, but have heard nothing yet from the Commerce Department.
The CSIS analysis shows a rapid accumulation over the past few months of tariff exclusion requests over broad US geographical areas. Over 26,700 steel exclusion requests span 239 of 435 congressional districts and 45 states plus Puerto Rico. The seventh district in California had the highest number of firms filing—18 firms in that one district.
The aluminum tariff exclusion requests span 87 congressional districts and 28 states plus Puerto Rico. The Illinois fifth district had the highest number of aluminum exclusion requests—665, filed by two firms. Ohio’s first district had the second highest number of filings—334 exclusion requests by one firm.
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