WASHINGTON — Companies seeking exclusions from new steel and aluminum tariffs must apply separately for each unique steel or aluminum product, according to rules published Monday by the Department of Commerce.
The requests will be evaluated on whether there is a comparable domestic source of the metal products in sufficient quantity and quality, as well as whether the imports could affect national security, the Federal Register notice said.
Individuals or organizations requesting exclusions must provide a full description of the specific product, its properties and its quantity. Exclusion requests will be posted for 30 days for public comment at regulations.gov.
Domestic producers that object to exclusions also need to provide specific information showing their ability to provide the comparable steel or aluminum product, including their U.S. production capabilities, the availability and delivery time of the products they make relative to the imported versions, and the suitability of the product for the specified use.
"These procedures will allow the Administration to further hone these tariffs to ensure they protect our national security while also minimizing undue impact on downstream American industries," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "Domestic industry will be able to apply for exclusions through a fair and transparent process run through Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security."
The department's decisions will also be posted at regulations.gov.
President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on March 8 that imposes a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum after using a controversial and rarely used trade authority to determine that the imports are threat to national security.
Most experts and governments blame Chinese overcapacity for the problem of steel dumping at low prices. Foreign trade partners have reacted with anger and threats of retaliation to the unorthodox use of a trade remedy provision that ostensibly is allowed under international law during periods when countries are at war. Trump conditionally exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs based on progress in the North American Free Trade negotiations, while other countries are seeking to secure exemptions based on their security importance to the U.S.