On April 29, 2020, the Commerce Department (“Commerce”) published a notice in Federal Register announcing that it is proposing new regulations that would establish an Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis System. The program appears to be modeled after the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (“SIMA”) System, which has been in place since 2005. Under the new monitoring system, importers of aluminum products or their customs brokers will be required to submit information via Commerce’s online portal to obtain an auto-generated license after which the license number must accompany the entry documentation. Commerce is requesting comments from interested parties regarding this new scheme by May 29, 2020.
Commerce has indicated this new system is intended to allow the Department to monitor aluminum import levels and this data would be made available to the public. This new monitoring approach goes hand in hand with the Department’s continued multi-prong approach on tackling trade issues. An important aspect of the new program is that Commerce is permitted to review imports as part of the exemptions from Section 232 aluminum tariffs for Canada and Mexico. As part of the Section 232 exemption process, the U.S. may monitor for import surges and limit imports to historic quantities “without meaningful increases,” according to Commerce. Furthermore, the new system will “facilitate the monitoring of imports of aluminum articles, including monitoring for import surges,” according to Commerce.