Trade Cases

Leibowitz on Trade: Product Exclusion Process Off to a Shaky Start

Written by Tim Triplett

Lewis Leibowitz, trade attorney and contributor to Steel Market Update, offers the following commentary on the latest developments in Washington:

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reported to the Senate Finance Committee last week that companies had submitted 20,003 product exclusion requests for steel and 2,503 for aluminum, seeking relief from tariffs on products they maintain are not sufficiently available in the United States. The Trump administration has imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. As of June 20, Commerce had posted 8,168 of the exclusion requests online and had rejected 2,513, in most cases stating there was “insufficient information to verify the product description and/or HTSUS code.”

“The applications were rejected for something as simple as an inaccurate Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code. Use of the arcane HTS codes is complicated and nuanced and easily subject to misinterpretation,” Leibowitz said.

Of the applications that were accepted, 42 exclusion requests were granted and 56 denied. The 42 that were granted cover seven different companies importing steel products from Japan, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and China. The seven companies receiving the exclusions include:  Schick Manufacturing, Inc.; Nachi America, Inc.; Hankev International; Zapp Precision Wire; U.S. Leakless; Woodings Industrial Corp.; and PolyVision Corp.

Fifty-two of the 56 requests that were denied came from the following 11 companies: Material Sciences; Mill Products, Inc.; North American Fastener; Primrose Alloys; Scott Way; Seneca Foods; Wright McGill; Arrow Gear Co.; Bekaert; Midas International Group; and Stainless Imports, Inc. (The other four companies are unknown to Steel Market Update.)

“Of the companies that received approvals, the tonnages appear very small. The approvals are for just one year,” Leibowitz added. 

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