Is Huyett the first US fastener business to secure exemption from Section 232 tariffs?

Minneapolis fastener and hardware firm GL Huyett has received 48 Section 232 Tariff Exclusions for stainless steel bar product and has speculated it may be the first US fastener company to do so.

In March, the President of the United States issued Proclamations 9704 and 9705 on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, citing Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. These proclamations imposed duties in the amount of 10% on Aluminum and 25% on Steel.

In June, the US Department of Commerce issued a process where importers of these products could file exclusions from these tariffs.

The criteria for exclusions was for raw materials, “not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality, and upon specific national security considerations.” To date there have been over 40,000 requests submitted, of which about half have received public objection from domestic producers or similar stakeholders. As of 1 November 2018, the Commerce Department had approved fewer than 5,000 exclusions.

“This is a big win for us,” said Zac Chamberlain, G.L. Huyett Purchasing Manager. “We have another 15 exclusions pending, all of which have passed the public comment period with no objections.”

Dan Harriger, Vice President of Sales, added: “This is even a bigger win for our customers. While there is general inflation in the market due to capacity constraints and the underlying production input costs, this is one step in the right direction.”

Harriger further noted that the exclusions would primarily affect G.L. Huyett’s stainless key stock and solid pins made from bar.

CEO Tim O’Keeffe said: “I am especially proud of our team. Rather than accepting regulatory changes as inevitable, they assessed the situation and built a compelling case to the Federal government that our claimed exclusions possess a national security interest. I suspect that we may be the very first company in the US fastener industry to receive exclusions.”

Notably, the US President and Chinese counterpart have agreed a temporary truce in the ongoing trade war, delaying the further tariff hike due in the New Year. However there is no guarantee that hostilities won't be resumed at the end of the 90 day period with the imposition of the tariff increase.