On March 8, 2018, President Trump signed proclamations imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. The tariffs are being imposed pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 following reports from the Department of Commerce that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports threaten to impair U.S. national security. The 25 percent duty on steel and the 10 percent duty on aluminum will take effect on March 23, 2018.

Imports of aluminum and steel from Canada and Mexico are temporarily exempted from the tariffs as the United States continues to engage in NAFTA negotiations with those countries. Other major U.S. economic partners, including the European Union, are calling for additional exemptions and exclusions. Such exclusions may be tied to the willingness of those partners to negotiate with the Trump Administration on certain issues.

The proclamations state that the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with other officials, may provide relief from the additional duties: (i) for any aluminum or steel article determined not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality; or (ii) based on specific national security considerations. Such relief may be provided only after a request for exclusion is made by a directly affected party located in the United States. The proclamations provide that the Secretary of Commerce shall issue procedures for exclusion requests within 10 days after the date of the proclamations—i.e., by March 18, 2018.