Product exclusions from U.S. tariffs may take 90 days: document

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Steel and aluminum users that depend on imported products not available from U.S. producers may have to wait up to 90 days for an exclusion from the Trump administration’s new metals tariffs, according to a Commerce Department document.

The draft Federal Register notice, which is expected to be published later on Friday evening and was seen by Reuters, outlines procedures for companies to seek such exclusions. The review period for such requests “normally will not exceed 90 days, including adjudication of objections submitted on exclusion requests,” it said.

The exclusion rules have been anxiously awaited by manufacturing companies since President Donald Trump announced the tariffs on March 7 to protect domestic steel and aluminum producers on national security grounds. U.S. allies, however, remain in the dark about country-specific exemptions.

But steel- and aluminum-consuming industries that must import products, such as the high-strength steel rod used to make tire belts, may end up paying tariffs for a considerable period before being granted an exclusion. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is expected to begin collecting the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on March 23.

“The request should clearly identify, and provide support for, the basis upon which the exclusion is sought,” the Commerce Department said in the notice. “An exclusion will only be granted if an article is not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount, is not produced in the United States in a satisfactory quality, or for a specific national security consideration.”

Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Diane Craft and Leslie Adler

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