On March 1, 2018, President Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, rejecting push back from his own advisers and objections from both Democrats and Republicans. Trump said the tariffs were needed to level the playing field for American steel producers against “bad actors” like China. The import tariffs included 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminum. At the time of the announcement, the President exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies.
In the wake of the announcement, many countries threatened retaliation against any U.S. tariffs. The European Union threatened to impose tariffs on hundreds of U.S. items for import, including cigarettes, sweetcorn, and stainless steel sinks. However, those threats were not realized, as the U.S. carved out an exemption for the EU. To date, the U.S. has granted exemptions to key allies, including Canada, Mexico, the EU, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.
India is seeking an exemption from the tariffs. The Trump Administration has taken issue with India in the past, since the U.S. has a $20 billion trade deficit there. On March 14, 2018, the U.S. challenged India’s export subsidy regime in the WTO. On April 11, 2018, the U.S. and India will hold bilateral consultations in Geneva to discuss the WTO case filed by the Trump Administration.
On March 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce formally announced procedures for excluding tariffs on steel and aluminum product imports for domestic companies. These procedures are aimed to minimize the impact on downstream American industries. A domestic company must apply for exclusions, and will be granted an exemption only sparingly and based on national security concerns, which the Bureau of Industry and Security will oversee. Certain considerations must be met in order to be excluding from the tariffs, including whether a product is produced in the U.S. and if the product is of a satisfactory quality or in a sufficient and reasonable amount.
On April 10. 2018,