Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:
Background on Section 232 Investigations – Section 232 investigations, administered by the U.S. Commerce Department, are conducted to determine the effect of imports of certain goods on national security Historically, Section 232 investigations have been conducted regarding U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products and uranium, among other critical imports.
Investigations may be initiated based on an application from an interested party, a request from the head of any department or agency, or may be self-initiated by the Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary’s report to the President, prepared within 270 days of initiation, focuses on whether the importation of the article in question is in such quantities, or under such circumstances, that threaten to impair the national security. The President can concur or not with the Secretary’s recommendations, and take action to “adjust the imports of an article and its derivatives” or other non-trade related actions as deemed necessary.
Background on Section 232 Aluminum and Steel Tariffs
Section 232 investigations, administered by the U.S. Commerce Department, are conducted to determine the imports of certain goods on national security. Historically, Section 232 investigations have been conducted regarding U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products and uranium, among other critical imports. Under the Trump administration, the Commerce Department initiated investigations of U.S. imports of aluminum and steel on April 27, 2017. The investigation resulted in an affirmative determination that such imports harm U.S. national security. As a result of the investigation’s findings, Trump imposed tariffs on certain U.S. imports of aluminum and steel on national security grounds. An exclusion process was also implemented in which U.S. importers could apply for tariffs to be excluded for certain steel and aluminum product imports.
Since the inception of the Trade War with China, the Office of the United States’ Trade Representative (USTR) has provided citizens, primarily those in industries directly affected by the imposition of ad valorem duties (tariffs), the opportunity to request that certain products be granted exclusions. Each list of tariffs has its own specific process to ensure that concerned citizens may voice their opinions as to why given products should not be subjected to additional duties upon importation, as prescribed in the Section 301 investigation.