Subject: Release: PIA Releases Statement on DOC Exclusions for Aluminum and Steel Tariffs

Media Contact: Jenn Strang, 412-259-1810

PIA Releases Statement on Department of Commerce 
One-Year Exclusions for Aluminum and Steel Tariffs

Pittsburgh, PA—Today, the Printing Industries of America released a statement regarding corporate announcements by industry suppliers of aluminum lithographic printing plates regarding their individual approval of one-year tariff exclusions granted by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). 

Speaking on behalf of the organization, President and CEO Michael Makin said, "PIA is pleased to acknowledge the recent announcements by individual manufacturers of aluminum imported for use in printing and publishing equipment who have received Department of Commerce approval of tariff exclusion requests. The announcement by industry suppliers — including the reaffirmed commitment to ensure retroactive refunds to be shared proportionately with their print and publishing customers who have been negatively affected by the increased production costs — is welcome news as we begin 2019.”

“Last year, PIA members across the country felt the impact of trade policy, in particular, Section 232 tariffs imposed on raw materials used in print production, such as aluminum to make lithographic printing plates. The impact included lost productivity, concerns regarding availability of supply, and dramatic cost increases as major suppliers felt forced to share the brunt of a 10% tariff imposition with their customers. Many printers and publishers received letters from suppliers formally announcing a pass-through surcharge of the tariff that would remain until the tariffs were rescinded OR if their supplier received a product exclusion from the U.S. Department of Commerce.”

“Over the past several months, while industry suppliers filed hundreds of product exclusion requests and awaited a serious backlog of the approval/denial process at the DOC, our members have been absorbing their share of the tariff impact while awaiting potential relief. During this time, PIA has actively worked with Department of Commerce officials and members of Congress to speed up and make the exclusions process more efficient. PIA has also worked to review how legislative action might help alleviate the current situation and similar Section 232 tariff policy in the future.”

“I personally joined a delegation of printers, publishers, and suppliers in meetings with the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. to voice our concerns. Meanwhile, PIA’s government affairs team worked alongside the Alliance for Competitive Steel and Aluminum Trade, a coalition of manufacturers whose productivity is reliant on competitive inputs, to educate Congress on the impacts of Section 232 tariffs on downstream customers and specific industries like print. The overall advocacy purpose is to assist policymakers both on Capitol Hill and in the Trump Administration in formulating more effective policies to address the complex challenges of international trade.”

“PIA will continue to monitor the follow-up of Section 232 tariff exclusions and encourages member companies impacted by the pass-through surcharge to communicate directly with their suppliers regarding the process of retroactive refunds administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Additionally, PIA will continue advocating on behalf of downstream customers in relation to the ongoing trade policy debate.”

Background: Importers of aluminum were required to apply for hundreds of specific product exemptions as part of Section 232 tariffs imposed at a rate of 10 percent on imports of steel and aluminum. The U.S. Department of Commerce granted exclusions if an article was not produced in the United States in “sufficient and reasonably available amount,” in “satisfactory quality,” or if “there is a specific national security consideration warranting an exclusion.”

On January 23, 2019 and on January 28, 2019, respectively, Fujifilm and Kodak announced the majority of their exclusions had been granted and that each company intended to fulfill its obligation to refund printing and publishing customers on whom a pass-through surcharge had been imposed. Exclusions approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce are generally good for one year and retroactive refunds are available dating back to the date of submission of exclusion applications.


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