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US Agrees to Drop Section 232 Duties, Pay Refunds Due to Discrepancy in Granted Exclusions

The Court of International Trade in an Aug. 1 order granted a joint motion for stipulated judgment, granting refunds to importer Transpacific Steel for Section 232 steel and aluminum duties paid in error. The importer was originally granted three exclusions with the wrong Harmonized Tariff Schedule subheading listed in them. After having its resubmitted exclusion requests denied, Transpacific took to the trade court to seek the exclusions and refunds for the Section 232 duties paid. It received just that following a settlement with the U.S. (Transpacific Steel v. United States, CIT #21-00362).

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"Without admitting liability or otherwise, the parties have agreed to settle all of Transpacific’s claims regarding the imported merchandise subject to the exclusion requests at issue in this action, including any claims that Transpacific could have been brought against the United States under any jurisdictional provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1581, relating to the exclusions and entries at issue," the order said. "That settlement has been reached pursuant to the Department of Justice’s inherent and statutory authority to compromise and settle litigation and has been approved by the Attorney General’s authorized representative."

The matter concerns imports of hot dipped galvalume prepainted steel coil, which were subject to the Section 232 duties. Transpacific requested exclusions on the duties for these products, identifying HTS subheading 7210.70.8090 in the requests. The exclusion requests were granted. The problem is that this subheading is not recognized as a U.S. HTS code. The importer then tried a do-over on the exclusions, identifying subheading 7210.70.6090, which covers "Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, clad, plated or coated: Painted, varnished, or coated with plastics: Other: Other."

The Commerce Department denied the resubmitted exclusion bids that were filed to fix the discrepancy. Transpacific brought its case to CIT, where a settlement was reached. The U.S. agreed to reliquidate the entries without the Section 232 duties and pay refunds with interest.