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Tariff Relief Can Mean Sharing Company Secrets

Jul 04, 2018

 

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Exemptions from the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are requiring U.S. manufacturers to expose competitive information to rivals, customers, and U.S. metal producers.

The Commerce Department requires companies to fill out a lengthy form for each type of product it imports. That report requests details on everything from the chemical composition of the metal to the volumes they use.

This is information most manufacturers consider highly proprietary, since their competitors can use this information against them. U.S. steel makers may file objections, each three pages long, to make the case that they can provide the metal to a customer instead of that customer using an overseas supplier.

Nucor Corp., the Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker, is among those filing objections. “We are seeing exclusion requests where the volume being requested far exceeds the entity’s actual consumption or capacity,” a Nucor spokeswoman reported. Read more...