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Steel News September 21, 2020 02:40:44 AM

GAO Recommends Changes to Tariff Exemption Application Process

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
In addition, the GAO said that Commerce did not make a decision on requests within its timeliness guidelines 79 percent of the time and, as of late 2019, had a backlog of 28,000 applications.
GAO Recommends Changes to Tariff Exemption Application Process

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The Department of Commerce should improve the system that companies use to seek relief from Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in a report released in September.

Businesses who need steel and aluminum products that are not available domestically can apply for tariff exemptions. In an analysis of 106,000 such requests between March 2018 and November 2019, the GAO found that the Commerce Department rejected 19,000 “prior to decision due to incorrect or incomplete information. Although rejections may delay relief for requesters and can increase work for Commerce, the agency has not identified, analyzed, or taken steps to fully address the causes of these submission errors.”

In addition, the GAO said that Commerce did not make a decision on requests within its timeliness guidelines 79 percent of the time and, as of late 2019, had a backlog of 28,000 applications. As a result, Congress’ investigative arm recommended that the agency identify, analyze, and respond to factors in the process that may cause submission errors, as well as take steps to improve timeliness of exclusion request decisions and address the backlog.

Finally, the GAO reported that the Commerce Department has not measured the impact of tariffs and noted that, “Without assigning responsibility for conducting regular reviews and documenting the results, Commerce may be unable to consistently assess if adjustments to the tariffs are needed.” It recommended that the agency should assign responsibility for reviewing the tariffs’ impact and documenting the results.

The Department of Commerce concurred with all three recommendations.

Courtesy: AIIS