President Proclaims Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Imports to Protect National Security; Canada and Mexico Get A Break

By Mark R. Ludwikowski / Mar 09, 2018

On March 8, 2018, President Donald Trump invoked section 232 national security provisions to impose import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum articles from all countries except Canada and Mexico.

President Trump’s decision relied on recommendations by the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) in its reports made public on February 16, 2018. The tariffs are in addition to any import duties and fees already in place. They will apply to subject goods entered into the U.S. market on or after March 23, 2018, and currently have no expiration date.

The 25% tariff applies to steel articles classified in 7206.10 through 7216.50, 7216.99 through 7301.10, 7302.10, 7302.40 through 7302.90, and 7304.10 through 7306.90, including any subsequent revisions to these HTS classifications.

The 10% tariff applies to unwrought aluminum (HTS 7601); aluminum bars, rods, and profiles (HTS 7604); aluminum wire (HTS 7605); aluminum plate, sheet, strip, and foil (flat rolled products) (HTS 7606 and 7607); aluminum tubes and pipes and tube and pipe fitting (HTS 7608 and 7609); aluminum castings and forgings (HTS 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70), including any subsequent revisions to these HTS classifications.

Exclusions for Products

The President has authorized the DOC to exclude certain products that are not produced domestically in sufficient amount or do not meet satisfactory quality. Products can also be granted exclusions based on specific national security considerations. Procedural details regarding the application process for exclusions will be issued by March 18, 2018. The exclusion application review process is expected to take 90 days.

If the DOC determines that a specific steel or aluminum product should be excluded from the tariffs, it will publish a notice of such determination in the Federal Register and instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Exemptions for Countries

The Presidential proclamations exempt Canada and Mexico from the tariffs while NAFTA negotiations are ongoing. The President also left open the possibility for exemptions for other affected countries with which the United States has an important security relationship. 

If you have any questions regarding this action and its potential implications, please contact Mark Ludwikowski or another member of Clark Hill’s International Trade Practice Group.