Walorski Statement on Commerce OIG Finding “Improper Influence” in Section 232 Exclusion Process
Inspector General Confirms Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exclusion Process Lacks Transparency, Unfairly Favors Objectors
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on a Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General (OIG) memo finding “a lack of transparency that contributes to the appearance of improper influence in decision-making for tariff exclusion requests under Section 232”:
“These findings are extremely troubling and confirm what has been apparent since the start: there is a thumb on the scale favoring objectors. There is no excuse for allowing an opaque, inconsistent, and unfair process to continue harming American manufacturers. I have been working with the Commerce Department to address serious issues plaguing the exclusion process, and I hope they continue these good-faith discussions by responding fully to the concerns I’ve raised and accepting my office’s longstanding request for additional meetings.”
Walorski has repeatedly pressed the Commerce Department to fix problems faced by businesses seeking relief from Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. American businesses can request the exclusion of a product from tariffs if the product is not available domestically in sufficient quantity or quality.
Earlier this month, Walorski sent a third letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross outlining additional concerns that U.S. manufacturers and small businesses seeking relief from steel and aluminum tariffs are being treated unfairly. The Commerce Department has yet to provide a comprehensive and substantive response to earlier letters, dated March 11 and April 30 of this year, that also raised questions about the product exclusion process.
Commerce Department officials met with Walorski and her staff on June 18, 2019, to discuss some of the issues raised in the March 11 and April 30 letters. However, numerous unanswered questions remain, in addition to new issues raised in the October 17 letter. On June 24, 2019, Walorski’s office requested an additional staff-level briefing to address those outstanding issues but has not received a response.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.