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House Group Requests Streamlined 232 Exclusion Process

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A bipartisan group of 39 members of Congress have asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to implement changes to improve the process of reviewing product exclusions. The request was led by Indiana Republican Jackie Walorski. 

“We appreciate that, in response to member and constituent requests, you have implemented a product exclusion process for the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs,” the members wrote. “However, we are concerned that over a month after the process began, the review process is moving far too slowly and that it places a significant burden on manufacturers, especially small businesses. We write to urge you to make needed changes to that process that would improve how it functions and provide relief to small businesses.”

Among its requests, the representatives asked for the Commerce Department to provide relief to those experiencing undue delays in the application review period by extending relief retroactive to the date of submission if the application was considered complete on the date of submission; streamline the exclusion request process; allow trade associations to provide for industrywide exclusions; take measures to protect trade secrets; provide timely information to companies requesting exclusions; publish an FAQ page; and incorporate the concept of grandfathering existing contracts in evaluating applications.

“We stand committed to working with you and the president to find a targeted approach that will reach our shared goals while avoiding lasting negative impacts. However, we believe that significant improvements to the exclusion process are still needed to prevent unnecessary duplication, reduce the burden on small businesses, and provide certainty and relief,” the letter concluded.