Under the Trump administration, the U.S. trade representative denied about 46,000 — or 87 percent — of the 53,000 exclusion requests it received from 2018 to 2020, primarily for failure to show the tariffs would cause severe economic harm to the company or other U.S. interests, according to a July report by the Government Accountability Office.
The U.S. trade representative also did not extend a majority of the tariff exclusions it granted, the report found.
But according to U.S. trade officials, "no one factor was essential to grant or deny a request."
The report recommended the trade office fully document the internal procedures it uses to make exclusion and extension decisions, as companies and Congress have questioned the transparency and fairness of the process.
Several industry companies, including interiors supplier Yanfeng, top Toyota supplier Denso Corp., as well as suppliers Robert Bosch and Lear Corp., had multiple exclusion requests denied by the Trump administration, according to a public docket. Yanfeng, Denso, Bosch and Lear declined to comment for this article.
U.S.-based divisions of Magna International also had several requests denied, including one for a rearview mirror monitor that it said is only available in China. The Canadian parts maker said it supports the administration for initiating a review of the 549 product exclusions, with the anticipation that more products will be added.
"We hope that the administration will expand the scope in the very near future by restarting the exclusion process to include all products on all of the Section 301 lists and by addressing the issues of the past exclusion procedural process," Magna spokeswoman Tracy Fuerst said.
For now, companies are evaluating ways to eliminate and mitigate the tariffs, "expecting that they will be in place for likely a longer amount of time than originally expected and looking at it as the new normal," Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg's Tallo said.