Law & Order

President Trump Defers Some Import Duties, SEMA Joins Coalition Effort Seeking More Tariff Relief

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

President Trump issued an Executive Order allowing U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to defer payments of certain duties, taxes and fees for up to 90 days dating back to March 2020. However, the Order does not apply to the Section 232 and 301 tariffs being imposed on imports of steel and aluminum and products from China. While the action may free-up cash for companies struggling under COVID-19 burdens, it is a temporary deferral rather than a suspension of collections. Further, the deferral is not automatic. The importer must demonstrate a significant financial hardship to qualify.  

SEMA and the Americans for Free Trade (AFT) Coalition continue to seek more comprehensive relief for U.S. businesses. In March, the Coalition sent a letter to President Trump asking the Administration to temporarily suspend the collection of duties including the Section 232 and 301 tariffs. The Administration rejected the request.

The AFT Coalition is now sending a second letter asking that the Executive Order be expanded to automatically defer collections on all duties (including Section 232 and 301 tariffs) made from the first half of March through the end of June. The action is needed to help mitigate the economic harm caused by COVID-19 and provide financial liquidity to companies during this crisis.

SEMA members are urged to sign the letter by Monday, April 27 (3:00 pm EDT). Only your company name, city and state will be listed on the letter. (An earlier draft of the letter was circulated for signatures before the President issued the Executive Order. The letter has been updated and you will need to sign again.)

Click here to sign.

Questions/comments? Contact Stuart Gosswein at