September ’23 at-a-glance … taxes, tariffs & trade

Commerce looks to revise Section 232 exclusion process

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) seeking to revise the exclusion process for the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.

Some of the newly proposed changes are those suggested by NAFEM in its March 2022 comments, part of the association’s ongoing efforts on behalf of members since the tariffs were introduced in 2018. Specifically, NAFEM advocated for maintenance of a General Approved Exclusion (GAE) process that allows for decision-making on the number of certified and substantiated objections, not just the sheer number of objections. BIS also proposes a General Denied Exclusions (GDE) process to keep track of objections for potential future product exclusions and proof of reasonable sourcing attempts for exclusion requests.

NAFEM has begun preparing comments on behalf of the industry. Members impacted by 232 tariffs willing to share their stories either with accreditation or anecdotally or those with general input are encouraged to contact Comments are due Oct. 12

USTR extends Section 301 exclusion to continue mandatory review

As expected, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) again extended 352 product exclusions and 77 COVID-related exclusions from Section 301 tariffs on imports from China until December 31, 2023. The exclusions were previously scheduled to expire September 30. According to USTR, the extension will allow for further consideration under the statutory four-year review of the tariffs currently underway.

In anticipation of a future opportunity to again comment on the Section 301 exclusion process, NAFEM seeks input from members on which exclusions are most important to their companies and challenges with the process. Contact

NAFEM members with questions about product exclusions can find their products by using the USTR search engine to check the 8-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheadings.

In other Section 301 news, the government-requested 60-day extension to file its opening brief in the litigation challenging the Section 301 tariffs was granted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Oral arguments are now anticipated early in 2024.

U.S. removes export restrictions from 33 companies, 27 in China

The DOC BIS removed 33 companies from export restrictions, 27 of which are Chinese companies. BIS confirmed that the companies removed from the unverified list were not passing U.S. exports on to terrorists or companies under U.S. sanctions. The decision, which came prior to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s recent meetings in China, were intended to convey that the U.S. “is not seeking to decouple from China, but rather to de-risk to protect national security and ensure resilient supply chains.”