AEC Seeks Change on Tariff Exclusions
By Metal Center News Staff
on Sep 18, 2023
The Aluminum Extruders Council is asking the Department of Commerce to reconsider its tariff exclusion rules on extruded products. The trade group said that while the Section 232 tariffs have been effective at protecting primary aluminum producers, numerous carve-out exclusions have harmed the extrusion industry.
According to the AEC, the DOC's current exclusion process allows foreign-made extruded aluminum products to be imported tariff-free under the current rules if a product cannot immediately "be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality." If a U.S. aluminum extruder objects to an exclusion, it must prove their company can either produce the extruded product in eight weeks or produce the extruded product faster than any specified foreign competitor.
AEC contended in a letter to the DOC that "while the spirit of the requirements is reasonable, they have placed an unfair burden on American extruders.”
The nature of custom manufacturing is that for the individual custom shape to be produced it requires product dimensions and specifications to acquire the necessary tooling, which can take weeks. The DOC nonetheless grants importers exemptions as if they were dealing with shelf-ready mass producers. U.S. aluminum extruders, in turn, have difficulty overturning these exclusions. Because of the difficulty U.S. aluminum extruders have had in meeting the DOC's Aluminum 232 exclusion objection criteria, the DOC adopted a "General Approved Exclusion" or "GAE" process whereby importers of foreign-made aluminum extrusions do not even have to apply for an exclusion to the Aluminum 232 tariffs – they are granted automatically. As such, AEC urged the DOC to revoke the GAE related to aluminum extrusions and revise the criteria upon which objections can be filed.