By Metals Service Center Institute
The partial US government shutdown is now into its third week and lawmakers and the White House seem to be no closer to a deal to provide appropriations for the unfunded departments. The following departments have ceased most operations:
- Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, and Treasury;
- Environmental Protection Agency;
- Federal Communications Commission;
- Food and Drug Administration;
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and
- The Securities and Exchange Commission
As American Metal Market reported last week the shutdown has had a major impact on the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariff process, effectively shutting down reviews of the exclusion requests and “potentially prolonging a process that already has drawn much criticism from steel market participants.” Indeed, the US Commerce Department hasn’t posted any new tariff exclusion requests since Dec. 20, two days before the shutdown began. (According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, Commerce had granted about 75 percent of the 19,000 exclusion requests.)
Companies can – and should – still submit their exclusion request to the US Department of Commerce but will have to wait until the department is reopened to have those requests processed. Click here to read the department’s list of frequently asked questions about the tariffs. This document was updated one day before the partial shutdown began on Dec. 22.
During the shutdown, the Commerce Department also eliminated staffing for ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations.
In related news: a growing list of US lawmakers have said that they will not vote to approve the United States Mexico Canada Agreement until the United States gets rid of the Section 232 tariffs for Canada and Mexico. Click here to read a floor statement by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) making this threat. Sen. Grassley’s committee will have oversight over passage of the USMCA.