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Tue March 20, 2018

On March 8, President Donald Trump announced, through two signed presidential proclamations, a 25-percent tariff on imported (steel) and a 10-percent tariff on imported (aluminum) from all countries except Mexico and Canada effective on March 23, 2018. Before the proclamations were signed, PLASTICS sent a letter opposing the tariffs to President Trump, members of his administration and the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Ways and Means.

Prior to the president’s actions, the PLASTICS membership was alerted to express their opposition to the tariffs by sending messages to the White House and to their respective senators and representatives. The announcement of the tariffs coincided with the 2018 Spring National Board Meeting, which offered the opportunity for discussion, action and strategy among the industry’s leaders.

On March 19, the administration published the interim final rule in the Federal Register with the process for petitioning for exclusions from the tariffs effective immediately. Members may consult information pages published by the Department of Commerce for steel and aluminum. Here are some highlights:

·The process outlines that only individuals and organizations using steel and aluminum articles (those identified in the President’s proclamations) in business activities, such as manufacturing or supplying steel or aluminum to users in the U.S., may submit exclusion requests.

·The exclusion process covers articles “determined not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality or based upon specific national security considerations.”

·To request an exclusion, petitioners must use a form for steel and a form for aluminum.

· A separate exclusion request “must be submitted on each distinct type of dimension” on a form.

· Exclusions granted will be limited to the product requested and imported by the individual or organization making the request unless the Department of Commerce approves a broader exclusion.

·Requests for exclusions can be made at any time with no time limit. The review of the exclusion requests will generally take place within 90 days. Approved exclusions will be effective five business days after the approval is posted on www.regulations.gov and are not retroactive.  Approved exclusions will generally be approved for only one year.  

PLASTICS strongly encourages members to request exclusions. Staff is ready to assist members with their requests. For assistance, please contact Suzanne Morgan at smorgan@plasticsindustry.org or 202-974-5218.