On September 11, 2018, the Commerce Department published in the Federal Register amendments to the rules governing product exclusion requests and objections thereto for Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.

The original product exclusion was criticized for lack of transparency and due process.  In particular, there was no vehicle to rebut assertions made in objections.  The revised rule now provides for rebuttals and surrebutals.

Here are some of the important changes:

  • Creates a process for product exclusion requesters to file rebuttals to objections
  • Creates a process for objectors to submit surrebuttals to rebuttals
  • Clarifies the criteria that BIS uses in deciding whether to grant or deny requests
  • Provides for broader exclusion requests based on ranges or dimensions within the same Harmonized Tariff Schedule code
  • Provides for “streamlined review” process for exclusion requests with no objections
  • Implements Presidential Proclamation signed August 29, 2018, allowing under limited circumstances steel and aluminum product exclusions for quota countries (steel from South Korea, Argentina, and Brazil, and aluminum from Argentina)

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