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Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Exemptions

On Friday, May 17, 2019, the United States opted to reduce trade tensions with its immediate neighbors – Mexico and Canada – by eliminating Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum on imports from those countries, helping to pave the road for congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Agreement. While global trade tensions remain, for the time being President Trump has also postponed the imposition of tariffs on automobiles from Europe and Japan. At the same time as this truce with the North American neighbors, President Trump is seeking to toughen measures on China, which has been accused of unfair trade practices and flooding global markets with subsidized steel and aluminum products.

Canada and Mexico Exempted

President Trump signed proclamations establishing Section 232 tariffs on certain steel and aluminum imports. President Trump enacted a 25% tariff on covered steel imports and a 10% tariff on covered aluminum imports. The Commerce Department subsequently established an exclusion process, under which steel users can request their imports be excluded from the tariffs and through which domestic steel producers can file objections setting out their capacity to manufacture the requested product. Tens of thousands of exclusions have been filed to date and new petitions are submitted daily.

The Latest

In order to pave the way for ratification of the United States-Mexico- Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Administration lifted the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs against Canada and Mexico. Canada and Mexico agreed to lift their respective retaliatory tariffs as well, clearing the air for North American businesses that rely on these products.

 What Is Next

Just as the Canada/Mexico tariffs are lifted, pressure is only increasing on companies importing covered goods from the rest of the world. Companies will continue to participate in the 232 tariff and quota exclusion process, especially as some of the earliest granted exclusions are reaching or will soon reach their one-year expiration date.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 151


About this Author

Ludmilla Kasulke International Trade Attorney

Ludmilla (Milla) Kasulke draws on her experience in both domestic and international policy to assist clients on trade matters. Milla provides multinational corporations, sovereign governments and entities, and quasi-government entities with advice on a wide range of trade policy, legal, and regulatory issues. She has been actively engaged in all aspects of the Section 232 process, including the exclusion petition process, and regularly advises clients on the impacts of current and potential new actions. Milla also regularly counsels clients on the impacts of current and potential new trade...

Mayte Gutierrez Public Policy Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Washington DC
Public Policy Advisor

Mayte Fedowitz is a member of our International Public Policy Practice and previously served as a Congressional Affairs Advisor and Liaison at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington DC. As a public policy advisor, she assists sovereign governments in understanding US government policies. Her experience in the private and public sector enables her to strategically guide clients in the public policy arena to leverage their relationships and advocate policy objectives.

As Congressional Affairs Liaison, Mayte conducted political analyses and expanded a strategic intelligence database system on key legislative issues. Working regularly with Members of Congress and staff, she created a political mapping intelligence system on states and congressional districts.

Prior to working at the Mexican Embassy, Mayte also spent time at the Mexican Federal Government’s Institute of Intellectual Property, where she served as an industrial and intellectual property lawyer for the Division of Negotiation and International Legislation. In that role, she drafted sections of international agreements, including the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Treaty and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. She also drafted advisory recommendations for the public and private sector regarding Mexican intellectual property laws, in addition to creating a compendium of international agreements and commercial treaties.

Fluent in Spanish and English, Mayte received her J.D. at the University of Guadalajara, where she was awarded the Mariano Otero Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She earned her Master of Intellectual Property from the Universidad Panamericana (Mexico City, Mexico) and her Master of Public Administration from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York).