Tariffs are taxes, which distort investment and limit growth. And like taxes, when tariffs are high they create a political incentive for exemptions and favoritism. Behold the Commerce Department’s new and tortuous process for reviewing exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs. This is everything Republicans typically claim to hate.
First, companies must submit a request attesting that their imports aren’t made in the U.S. in “a satisfactory quality” or “sufficient and reasonably available amount.” Companies must state the uses for their steel product, their average annual consumption of the product, as well as the number of days required to take delivery, manufacture and ship the product. They must also estimate the maximum and minimum composition of 24 chemical elements in their products including molybdenum, antimony and vanadium. There are dozens of other queries, but we’ll spare you.
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