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New On-line Portal for Section 232 Product Exclusion Requests Nearing Completion

The U.S. Department of Commerce has developed an on-line portal that will replace the use of the federal rulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov) for persons submitting exclusion requests, objections to exclusion requests, rebuttals and surrebuttals in connection with duties or quotas imposed pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. The DOC indicates the new portal will streamline the exclusion process for external parties, including importers and domestic manufacturers, by replacing the data collection point with web-based forms, which will ostensibly enhance data integrity and quality controls. In addition, the new system will allow parties to more easily view all exclusion request, objection, rebuttal and surrebuttal documents in one web-based system. Finally, parties will be able to track submission deadlines and collaboration between government agencies processing Section 232 exclusion requests will be enhanced.

The DOC plans to transition to the new Section 232 portal sometime in late 2018 to early 2019 once testing is completed and any final updates are made. As part of this process, a public testing phase will be held on 6-7 December. Once the new portal is ready to be implemented, the DOC will publish a rule making changes to the Section 232 exclusion process in supplements No. 1 (for steel exclusion requests) and No. 2 (for aluminium exclusion requests) to part 705 of the regulations. While the public will have an opportunity to submit comments on the new portal once the rule is published, the DOC is encouraging input before the portal goes live.

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