Customs Provides Guidance for Aluminum Import RequirementsMarch 20th, 2023 by Drew Vass, Executive Editor
After the U.S. hit Russia with a 200% tariff on all imports of aluminum in recent weeks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs) issued guidance for companies importing aluminum and aluminum derivative products, tracing their origins. Guidelines require companies to report the countries of smelt and cast for aluminum articles, including, among other items, profiles, plates, sheets, castings and forgings.
Requirements apply to goods entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, April 10, 2023. Among those required to report are importers of all aluminum articles and aluminum derivative articles from all countries, regardless of whether Section 232 duties, quotas, exclusions or general approved exclusions apply.
New requirements represent the latest in a series of political moves dating back to 2018. In March 2018, following a report and recommendations from then Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, President Donald Trump announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. In January 2020, he then issued Proclamation 9980 on Adjusting Imports of Derivative Aluminum Articles and Derivative Steel Articles into the U.S. On February 24 of this year, President Joe Biden extended measures by issuing Presidential Proclamation 10522 on Adjusting Imports of Aluminum into the U.S., requiring importers to provide to Customs information regarding countries of origin for primary aluminum used in imported aluminum articles, including information necessary to determine the location where articles and derivative articles are cast.
Aluminum articles covered by the smelt and cast reporting requirements include unwrought aluminum provided for in heading 7601; bars, rods and profiles provided for in heading 7604; wire provided for in heading 7605; plates, sheets and strip provided for in heading 7606; foil provided for in heading 7607; tubes, pipes and tube or pipe fittings provided for in heading 7608 and 7609; and castings and forgings of aluminum provided for in subheading 7616.99.51.
Effective March 10, 2023, any imports of aluminum articles or aluminum derivative articles that are the product of Russia, or where any amount of primary aluminum used to manufacture those articles is smelted in Russia, are subject to a 200% tariff. The same applies to aluminum articles cast in Russia, effective April 10, 2023.
According to new Custom’s requirements, companies must report the country where the largest volume of new aluminum metal is produced from alumina (or aluminum oxide) by the electrolytic Hall-Héroult process (the major industrial process for smelting aluminum). They must also report the country where the second largest volume of new aluminum metal is produced. If Russia isn’t the country reported for the primary origin of smelt, and any primary aluminum used in the manufacture of the product was smelted in Russia, guidelines call for reporting the ISO code for Russia as the secondary country of smelt.
The smelt and cast reporting requirements also apply to goods withdrawn from a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on April 10, 2023.
Companies must also report the country where aluminum (with or without alloy) was last liquified by heat and cast into a solid state, including either a semi-finished or finished product.
U.S. made products are not covered by the new reporting requirements, Customs officials say. Until further notice, for products of the U.S., filers may simply report “N/A” for the countries of smelt, and U.S. for country of cast.
Information and contacts related to filing requirements can be found at: https://www.cbp.gov/trade/remedies.