On February 10, 2022, the Department of Commerce published a Federal Register notice requesting public comments on the Section 232 exclusions process.  The notice follows the agreement reached between the U.S. and the EU related to the tariff rate quotas for steel and aluminum articles from EU member countries and the President’s January 3, 2022 announcement, Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States (Proclamation 10328).

The Proclamation directed the Secretary of Commerce to seek public comment more generally on the exclusions process, focusing in particular on soliciting comments related to the responsiveness of the process to market demand and collaboration with U.S. firms and labor organizations.

In addition to comments about the process for exclusions, the Department of Commerce highlighted the following specific topics for comments:

(1) How to reduce the volume of submission errors and rejected filings in the Section 232 Exclusions Portal;

(2) how to address the time for processing of exclusion requests, including but not limited to reducing length or type of attachments;

(3) requiring public summaries of any confidential business information in exclusion requests and objections, similar to the existing requirement for rebuttal and surrebuttals;

(4) requiring public disclosure of delivery times on the Exclusion Request and Objection Forms;

(5) requiring recent ( i.e., from the last quarter or 90 days) evidence supporting claims made in a Request or Objection;

(6) streamlining the online forms or otherwise reducing administrative burden; and

(7) assessing the General Approved Exclusions’ (GAEs) criteria and identification of specific products.

Comments are due by March 28, 2022.  If you are interested in submitting comments, please reach out to the Husch Blackwell International Trade Team.