December at-a-glance … taxes, tariffs & trade

NAFEM expresses concern over import quotas for metals

NAFEM provided comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) about its concerns with the tariff rate quota (TRQ) that replaced Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the EU. “NAFEM is concerned that replacing the Section 232 tariffs with a tariff rate quota (TRQ) will hurt our members because the quantitative limits create a threat of the tariffs being reinstated, especially with the anticipated surge in steel and aluminum demand with the recent passage of infrastructure legislation. This type of government restriction on raw materials and intervention may lead to market manipulation and allow larger companies to game the system, which will further harm America’s smallest manufacturers,” the organization said.

Under the agreement, the U.S. is slated to remove Section 232 tariffs on approximately $5.5 billion of EU steel and $1.2 billion of EU aluminum imports with these HTS codes. The U.S. has begun similar negotiations with Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom (U.K.).

DOC expected to overhaul Section 232 exclusion process

NAFEM is watching for an anticipated Federal Register notice from DOC that the agency intends to seek comments to revise the Section 232 product exclusion process. “This time, we hope to ensure that the exclusion process works better for NAFEM members,” said Christine Sohar Henter, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg. “There should be a way to involve those who aren’t always the importer of record.”