On December 14 the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a fourth interim final rule (IFR) which will revise aspects of the process for requesting exclusions from the Section 232 tariffs and quantitative limits on imports of steel and aluminum. The Federal Register Notice (FRN) is available here. Those wishing to comment on the changes in this IFR must do so by February 12, 2021, information on how to submit comments is available in the FRN.
Three primary changes are being made as a result of the interim final rule:
- The rule allows for General Approved Exclusions (GAEs) which may be used by any importer and are indefinite in length (will be active until removed or revised). The GAEs are not retroactive so no refunds will be issued for duties previously paid. The rule includes 108 steel and 15 aluminum tariff classifications and descriptions eligible for GAE’s. A list of the effected tariffs is provided in the FRN linked above.
- Adds a certification requirement for all exclusion applicants to attest that the amount they are applying to import into the US under the exclusion is legitimate to the businesses needs and not an excessive volume when compared to past usage. It also adds a reminder of the consequences of making a false statement to the US government.
- Adjusts the time standards for a US objector to an exclusion request to be able to supply steel or aluminum articles to match the timeline required for foreign objector to be able to supply the same material. Previously US suppliers were required to be able to supply articles “immediately” which based on the language in the rule, was interpreted to mean within 8 weeks where foreign objectors were not held to the same standard.
BIS states that it intends to publish at least one more interim final rule as it continues to review other issues regarding the exclusion process. Items pending review include functionality of the 232 Exclusions Portal.