Steel and Aluminum Tariffs: Thousands of Exclusion Requests from US Firms

Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the Commerce Department conducted investigations to determine whether steel and aluminum import tariffs pose a threat to national security.  On March 8, 2018, President Trump used the recommendations from these Commerce reports to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. A tariff is a tax levied on imported goods and paid by the importer. Consumers generally bear the burden of the tax when the import is a final consumer good, and manufacturers generally bear the burden when the import is an intermediate good such as steel or aluminum.

In response to these increased costs, US firms and individuals that use steel and aluminum may file a request to be excluded from these tariffs. The exclusion request process is conducted by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department, and all requests are made publicly available on regulations.gov. US producers of steel and aluminum have the ability to object to any exclusion request within 30 days of its submission. Multiple objections can be made for a single exclusion request.

As of November 1, there have been a total of 35,632 steel and aluminum tariff exclusion requests filed by 798 firms in 293 congressional districts across 46 states plus Puerto Rico. Of these filings, 31,527 exclusion requests ask for exemption from the steel tariffs, and steel manufacturers have filed 14,492 objections. The BIS has reached a decision on 49.6 percent of the steel exclusion requests, 11,259 have been approved and 4,367 have been denied. Additionally, 4,105 exclusion requests ask for exemption from the aluminum tariffs, and aluminum manufacturers have filed 440 objections. The BIS has reached a decision on 23.9 percent of the aluminum exclusion request, 840 have been approved and 141 have been denied.

These are the only existing datasets on the exclusion requests and objections. The datasets used to create the interactive maps can be downloaded below. In addition, the microdata at the exclusion request level that was used to calculate the data at the state and congressional district level can be downloaded below. When using the data, please refer to the codebook. The maps and datasets will be regularly updated as additional exclusion requests and objections are submitted.

State DataSteel DataAluminum DataAluminum MicrodataSteel Microdata
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Steel Microdata Including ObjectionsAluminum Microdata Including ObjectionsCodebook
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Produced by Christine McDaniel and Danielle Parks with the Trade and Immigration Project of the Mercatus Center.