90 days for product exclusions

WASHINGTON – Steel and aluminum users that depend on imported products not available from US producers may have to wait up to 90 days for an exclusion from the Trump administration’s new metals tariffs, according to a Commerce Department document.

The draft Federal Register notice, which is expected to be published later on Friday evening and was seen by Reuters, outlines procedures for companies to seek such exclusions.

The review period for such requests “normally will not exceed 90 days, including adjudication of objections submitted on exclusion requests,” it said.

The exclusion rules have been anxiously awaited by manufacturing companies since President Donald Trump announced the tariffs on March 7 to protect domestic steel and aluminum producers on national security grounds. US allies, however, remain in the dark about country-specific exemptions.

A Commerce Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional details.

But steel- and aluminum-consuming industries that must import products, such as the high-strength steel rod used to make tire belts that is currently unavailable from US steelmakers, may end up paying tariffs for a considerable period before being granted an exclusion.

The US Customs and Border Patrol is expected to begin collecting the tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on March 23, as determined in Trump’s proclamations.