Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his team must determine which U.S. companies get a waiver and which ones have to pay the border taxes to bring in metals from countries as diverse as Switzerland, Japan, Turkey, Russia and China.
More than 1,200 applications for waivers from the steel tariffs and 125 requests for exemptions from the aluminum tariffs have come in so far, the Commerce Department confirmed Friday to The Washington Post, an early indication of pressure building on Trump to back off on additional tariffs and lower the import taxes currently in place. The tariffs have only been in place for three weeks, and many lawyers and business leaders involved in the steel industry say this is just the beginning of the push for greater exemptions.
“A tsunami is coming,” said Kevin Dempsey, general counsel at the American Iron and Steel Institute. “I anticipate there will be several thousand exclusion requests filed.”
Each exemption provides relief to a U.S. business, but it also waters down the effectiveness of the tariffs, which Trump said are necessary to protect and rebuild America's steel and aluminum industries.
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