Section 232 on Steel Imports – Details from the Presidential Proclamation

The White House has released the text of the Presidential Proclamation on Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States.  The Proclamation contains additional details on the, coverage, and implementation of the tariffs on steel imports, as follows:

  • Tariff: The imposition of a 25% ad valorem tariff on steel articles (defined below) imported from all countries except Canada and Mexico.
  • Countries with “Security Relationship”: “Any country with which we have a security relationship is welcome to discuss with the United States alternative ways to address the threatened impairment of the national security caused by imports from that country.  Should the United States and any such country arrive at a satisfactory alternative means to address the threat to the national security such that I determine that imports from that country no longer threaten to impair the national security, I may remove or modify the restriction on steel articles imports from that country and, if necessary, make any corresponding adjustments to the tariff as it applies to other countries as our national security interests require.” 
  • Canada and Mexico: “Canada and Mexico present a special case.  I have determined that the necessary and appropriate means to address the threat to the national security posed by imports of steel articles from Canada and Mexico is to continue ongoing discussions with these countries and to exempt steel articles imports from these countries from the tariff, at least at this time.  I expect that Canada and Mexico will take action to prevent transshipment of steel articles through Canada and Mexico to the United States.” 
  • Product Coverage: “Steel articles” are defined at the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) 6‑digit level as: 7206.10 through 7216.50, 7216.99 through 7301.10, 7302.10, 7302.40 through 7302.90, and 7304.10 through 7306.90.  This appears to match the product coverage in the Commerce Department’s report, and we are checking to confirm. 
  • Effective Date: “All steel articles imports . . . shall be subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty with respect to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after March 23, 2018.”  There does not appear to be a grace period for imports or the “grandfathering” of pre-existing contracts or shipments. 
  • Exclusion Requests: The Commerce Department will consider requests for product exclusions “for any steel article determined not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality” or “to provide such relief based upon specific national security considerations.”  Such relief shall be provided for a steel article only after a request for exclusion is made by a directly affected party located in the United States.  Within 10 days of this Proclamation (e., by March 18), the Commerce Department will issue procedures for exclusion requests. 
  • Further Action: The Commerce Department will continue to monitor steel imports and advise the President of any circumstances which might indicate the need for further action as well as any circumstances which might indicate that the tariff is no longer necessary.
  • There is no end date for the tariff.