WASHINGTON (AP) – Companies seeking relief from President Donald Trump’s taxes on imported steel and aluminum ran into long delays and cumbersome paperwork, a federal watchdog found.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the Commerce Department, overwhelmed by companies lobbying to avoid the tariffs, could not meet its own deadline for processing around three-fourths of the requests.
And Commerce rejected nearly a fifth of the applications before weighing the merits of the appeal because the paperwork was incomplete or included errors.
Trump’s tariffs were controversial from the beginning. Invoking a rarely used provision of a 1962 law to label steel and aluminum imports a threat to U.S. national security, Trump slapped tariffs of 25% on foreign steel and 10% on aluminum in 2018. The idea was to strengthen U.S. producers of steel and aluminum by shielding them from foreign competition.
U.S. companies that relied on foreign steel and aluminum were allowed to appeal for relief from the tariffs,