The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) supports a letter signed by 39 members of Congress raising concerns that the product exclusion process for the Section 232 aluminum and steel tariffs is moving too slowly. The issue is creating a backlog of requests that places an undue burden on manufacturers, according to the letter addressed to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, which urges the secretary to make changes that would allow the process to move more quickly.
More than 7,700 comments and submissions for product exclusions have been filed with the Department of Commerce on the issue. Less than a third have been processed and posted on the docket.
“That is far too slow of a pace given the volume and the fact that this process is over a month and a half old,” the letter said. The letter also details 10 steps the Department of Commerce should take.
The letter from the Representatives, which was led by Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana) and Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin), agrees with several public statements MEMA has made raising concern over the 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, according to the group.
“The sheer volume of submissions requesting product exclusions gives us reason for concern,” said Bill Long, MEMA executive vice president of government affairs. “This apparent backlog creates uncertainty for our members, which puts businesses-and jobs-at risk.
“If you are importing steel from any country that is not exempted, you are paying a tariff now, even if you have filed for an exclusion. That could mean tying up millions of dollars that a business would rather invest in facilities and people,” Long added. “MEMA has said all along that tariffs would put jobs at risk, and this process seems to be proving us right. American businesses need a clear and predictable business environment to thrive in a global marketplace.”