President Trump has signed two proclamations assessing additional duties on the importation of aluminum and steel articles, effective March 23, 2018. For the time being, Mexico and Canada are exempt from the tariffs pending NAFTA negotiations. Top trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer will be responsible for working out deals with other countries seeking exemptions.
The President stated that the tariff initiative was triggered by a Commerce Department investigation that found that imports of the metals pose a risk to national security. The probes were authorized under the seldom-used Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the President broad powers to impose trade restrictions on domestic security grounds.
The President instituted a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports. The steel tariffs appear to be primarily on raw material, with “articles of steel” outside the scope of these tariffs.
“Steel articles” are defined at the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) 6-digit level as:
* 7206.10 – 7216.50 (Iron or Non-Alloy Steel in ingots or other primary forms, semi-finished products, flat-rolled products, bars and rods, and angles/shapes/sections excluding cold-formed and cold-finished from flat-rolled products)
* 7216.99 – 7301.10 (Angles/shapes/sections, wire, sheets and Stainless Steel and other alloy steel material.
* 7302.10, (Railway and Tramway track rails)
* 7302.40 – 7302.90, (Railway and Tramway construction material)
* 7304.10 – 7306.90, (Non-Cast Iron Tubes, Pipes, and Hollow Profiles)
We recommend importers note the exclusions above and evaluate their products accordingly.
WB Skinner urges importers to be familiar with the affected materials and to be aware of the implications for their businesses.