February 17, 2020

Court Temporarily Halts Collection Of Section 232 Duties On Certain Derivatives Of Steel, Aluminum

As Connecting the Dots reported previously, using his Section 232 trade powers, President Donald Trump recently issued a proclamation imposing duties on imports of certain derivatives of steel and aluminum products. Those new penalties were supposed to take effect on February 8, but last week the U.S. Court of International Trade issued a temporary order preventing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from collecting duties from U.S. companies under the order.

As The New York Times emphasized, the ruling is only in place “for now.” A single company had sought a temporary restraining order against the tariffs, but withdrew that request after the U.S. government agreed to not yet collect duties.

A trade policy expert for the Heritage Foundation told The Times that the court eventually is likely to “determine these derivative tariffs are also not permitted under Section 232.”

As a reminder, in submissions to the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2017, MSCI asked that “If companies are diverting substrate metals for importation into the United States in order to circumvent tariffs that were imposed to remedy dumping or state subsidies, then [the administration] consider additional mechanisms beyond those that are already in place to provide relief to the domestic downstream supply chain.” Connecting the Dots will continue to report on this matter, so stay tuned.

In related news:

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on February 10 affirmative preliminary circumvention rulings involving imports of certain corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) made with substrate from China and Taiwan. The department found these products are being shipped to other countries, including Costa Rica, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates, for “minor processing” and then are sent to the United States to circumvent duties in place on the product. The agency also found that imports from Guatemala and South Africa were not made with Chinese substrate. The Commerce Department self-initiated this case, marking that it has launched a circumvention case because of its own monitoring of trade patterns. Click here to read more.
  • As FastmarketsAMM reported, the Commerce Department also has finalized anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of carbon and alloy steel threaded rod from China and India. The department will impose anti-dumping duties ranging from 4.3 percent to 59.5 percent on the Chinese imports and 2.5 percent to 28.3 percent on the Indian imports. It will also impose countervailing duties ranging from 31 percent to 66.8 percent on the Chinese imports and 6.1 percent to 211.7 percent on the Indian imports.