January 7, 2019

Shutdown Affects 232 Exclusion Requests; Lawmakers Continue To Oppose Penalties For Canada, Mexico

The partial U.S. government shutdown is now into its third week and lawmakers and the White House seem to be no closer to a deal to provide appropriations for the unfunded departments. (Read our story from last week to see which agencies are affected by the shutdown.)

As American Metal Market (subscription required) reported last week the shutdown has had a major impact on the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariff process, effectively shutting down reviews of the exclusion requests and “potentially prolonging a process that already has drawn much criticism from steel market participants.” Indeed, the U.S. Commerce Department hasn’t posted any new tariff exclusion requests since Dec. 20, two days before the shutdown began. (According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, Commerce had granted about 75 percent of the 19,000 exclusion requests.)

Companies can – and should – still submit their exclusion request to the U.S. Department of Commerce, but will have to wait until the department is reopened to have those requests processed. Click here to read the department’s list of frequently asked questions about the tariffs. This document was updated one day before the partial shutdown began on Dec. 22.

During the shutdown, the Commerce Department also eliminated staffing for ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations.

In related news: a growing list of U.S. lawmakers have said that they will not vote to approve the United States Mexico Canada Agreement until the United States gets rid of the Section 232 tariffs for Canada and Mexico. Click here to read Connecting the Dotsstory from last week and here to read a floor statement by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) making this threat. Sen. Grassley’s committee will have oversight over passage of the USMCA.