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Trade and Industry Department The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Brand Hong Kong - Asia world city

Commercial Information Circulars

24-hour hotline : 23 922 922

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Ref. : EIC 111/2/18
EIC 111/3
EIC 111/3/13

22 February 2018

Dear Sirs,

Commercial Information Circular No. 196/2018

US : Possible Remedies against Imported Steel and Aluminium

The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) released on 16 February 2018 its investigation reports on the impact from imports of steel mill products and wrought and unwrought aluminium on the US national security. The DOC reports found that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminium imports "threaten to impair the national security," as defined by Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. To address the problems, the reports recommended for the US President's consideration that tariffs and / or quotas be imposed on certain aluminium and steel products imported from all or selected economies.


2.Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 authorizes the DOC to conduct investigations to determine the effect on the national security of the US of imports of any article by submitting a report with recommendations and advice for the consideration of the US President to take a range of actions in the form of imposition of tariffs, quotas or other restrictions. DOC initiated the investigations on imported steel and imported aluminium on 19 April 2017 and 26 April 2017 respectively. Reports of both investigations were released on 16 February 2018.

3.The US President is required to make a decision on the steel recommendations by 11 April 2018, and on the aluminium recommendations by 19 April 2018. He may take a range of actions, or no actions, based on the analysis and recommendations in the reports. He may also make modifications to the recommended actions.

4.Details of the recommendations in the two reports made by the DOC are set out below:

A. Steel:

  1. A global tariff of at least 24% on all steel imports covered by the investigation from all countries (hereafter 'covered steel imports') ; or
  2. A tariff of at least 53% on all covered steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, Mainland China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam) with a quota by product on covered steel imports from all other countries equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the US; or
  3. A quota on all covered steel products from all countries equal to 63% of each country's 2017 exports to the US.

5.For this report, the following steel products are covered:

  • Steel covers steel mill products ("steel") which are defined at the Harmonized System ("HS") 6-digit level as: 720610 through 721650, 721699 through 730110, 730210, 730240 through 730290, and 730410 through 730690, including any subsequent revisions to these HS codes.
  • These steel products generally fall under the one of the following five categories -
    1. Carbon and Alloy Flat Product (Flat Products) : Produced by rolling semi-finished steel through varying sets of rolls. Includes sheets, strips, and plates;
    2. Carbon and Alloy Long Products (Long Products) : Steel products that fall outside the flat products category. Includes bars, rails, rods, and beams;
    3. Carbon and Alloy Pipe and Tube Products (Pipe and Tube Products) : Either seamless or welded pipe and tube products. Some of these products may include stainless as well as alloy other than stainless;
    4. Carbon and Alloy Semi-finished Products (Semi-finished Products) : The initial, intermediate solid forms of molten steel, to be re-heated and further forged, rolled, shaped, or otherwise worked into finished steel products. Includes blooms, billets, slabs, ingots, and steel for castings; and
    5. Stainless Products: Steel products, in flat-rolled, long, pipe and tube, and semi-finished forms, containing at minimum 10.5 percent chromium and, by weight, 1.2 percent or less of carbon, offering better corrosion resistance than other steel.

B. Aluminium:

  1. A tariff of at least 7.7% on all aluminium exports covered in the investigation (hereafter 'covered aluminium exports') from all countries; or
  2. A tariff of 23.6% on all covered aluminium products from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. All the other countries would be subject to quotas equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the US; or
  3. A quota on all covered aluminium imports from all countries equal to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the US.

6.For this report, the following aluminium products are covered:

HTS Code Description
7601 Unwrought aluminium
7604 Aluminium bars, rods and profiles
7605 Aluminium wire
7606 Aluminium plates, sheets, and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm*
7607 Aluminium foil (whether or not printed, or backed with paper, paperboard, plastics or similar backing materials) of a thickness (excluding any backing) not exceeding 0.2mm
7608 Aluminium tubes and pipes
7609 Aluminium tube and pipe fittings
7616.99.51.60 Other articles of aluminium: castings
7616.99.51.70 Other articles of aluminium: forgings
*Note: this category includes can sheet for aluminium can packaging

7.For further details, please refer to the related press release and reports by the DOC:

Press Release by the DOC

The steel report

The aluminium report


8.For enquiries concerning the content of this circular, please contact the undersigned at 3403 6099.

Yours faithfully,

(Jasper LAM)
for Director-General of Trade and Industry

Note: While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the above information, the Department cannot guarantee this to be so and will not be held liable for any reliance placed on the same.