US changes origin rules of steel imports to include steel melting as well

The US Department of Commerce has adopted new regulatory changes requiring steel import licence applicants to identify not only the country of origin, but also the country where steel used in the manufacture of the imported product was melted and poured, as defined in the final rule.

The new regulations announced on Friday, expand the scope of import licensing requirements of steel products to include all products subject to section 232 tariffs; extend the SIMA system indefinitely; and codify the existing low-value licence requirement for certain steel entries up to $5,000. 
“These significant improvements to SIMA will enable Commerce and the public to more readily identify transshipment and circumvention involving steel imports,” said US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This is one more way the Trump Administration is standing up for our workers and families across the country who depend on a strong American steel industry.”  
The Commerce Department said the decision to introduce new regulation was taken after receiving public comments on these regulatory changes, as proposed rule, published in March 2020. 
Along with the adoption of final rules modernising the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system, the Commerce Department also announced plans to unveil a new online platform for SIMA on Commerce’s website in October. 
The Department also said the new online platform for SIMA, to be released on Tuesday (13 October 2020), represents the first major overhaul of the system since it was last updated in 2005. The updated SIMA will offer free, modern data analytic tools to the public for performing detailed, customised data analysis. These tools will aid in the identification of changing trade patterns and surges in U.S. imports of steel products, as well as potential circumvention and evasion.  
The updates to SIMA are consistent with the 17 May 2019 joint understandings between the United States and Canada, and the United States and Mexico, which provided that in monitoring for steel import surges, the United States may treat products made with steel that is melted and poured in North America separately from products that are not.  
SIMA is administered by Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration, which is responsible for vigorously enforcing US trade laws.