Production has tapered off in recent years, yet the White House aimed to restore US production to 80 percent capacity, partly by cutting off imports through tariffs. According to the American Iron along with Steel Institute, US steel mills have shipped 4.2 percent more steel within the first several months of 2018 than the same period last year. Domestic steelmakers have restarted some production, which has Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross telling lawmakers last month those plants should be able to meet the demand by the end of the year.
within the meantime, Bergren’s is usually among the tens of thousands of requests flooding the Commerce Department asking for help. To date, the Department of Commerce has approved 220 requests for exclusions of steel along with aluminum along with denied 175. The rest are waiting to be processed. The exclusions of which have been granted last
The process has proved onerous for Metal Partners. Bergren’s first applications were returned due to technical issues; he’s resubmitted three times, with assistance coming from an industry specialist. He told CNBC he sought exclusions for seven products along with spent four hours applying for each product. Commerce has yet to post his applications to regulations.gov, the website set up to review the requests.
Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), whose Indiana district is usually heavy with manufacturing, has been leading the charge in Congress to get Commerce to streamline along with expedite the exclusion process. She was disturbed by what Secretary Ross told her at a recent meeting.
“He announced to some of my colleagues along with myself of which there was ‘not bad news.’ The piece of not bad news was the Treasury has received almost $1 billion in tariffs. The problem was of which, I pointed out, of which’s American money — of which’s coming from tiny business in my district,” says Walorksi.
within the meantime, companies like Metal Partners continue to pay tariffs on imports. Bergren is usually reaching out to lawmakers along with hopeful of which the Commerce Department will review the facts. “There’s no way the domestic mills are filling the void created by the reduction of foreign rebar coming in,” declares Bergren.
Lawmakers coming from across the country – along with both sides of the aisle – voiced their irritation to the Commerce secretary at a June hearing held by the Senate Finance Committee. Sec. Ross blamed the lack of funding along with personnel allotted for the process along with said both were being increased.
Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill criticized Commerce for not deciding who would certainly be excluded before the tariffs went into effect, as the Bush Administration had done in 2002. “The day you announced the tariffs, you had not done the homework about what exclusions would certainly be appropriate,” she said.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts recounted the experience of Shield Agricultural Equipment, a 42-person company in southern Kansas of which uses a specialized steel coming from Canada to make blades for farming machinery. Shield Ag, Roberts said, had also applied for an exclusion yet had gotten radio silence. Roberts then asked Sec. Ross to give the company’s owner a call.
“There’s no reason he shouldn’t be granted an exclusion,” Sec. Ross said to Roberts. “I’ll call him no later than tomorrow morning.”