[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 32 (Friday, February 15, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11090-11092]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03619]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

International Trade Administration

19 CFR Part 360

[Docket No.: 121016549-2549-01]
RIN 0625-AA93


Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis System

AGENCY: Import Administration, International Trade Administration, 
Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce (the Department) publishes this 
action to make final a rule to extend the Steel Import Monitoring and 
Analysis (SIMA) system until March 21, 2017. The purpose of the SIMA 
system is to provide the public statistical data on steel imports 
entering the United States seven weeks earlier than it would otherwise 
be available to the public. Aggregate data collected from the licenses 
are made available to the public on a weekly basis following review by 
the Department.

[[Page 11091]]


DATES: This final rule is effective March 21, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the SIMA system, 
please contact Steven Presing (202) 482-1672 or Julie Al-Saadawi (202) 
482-1930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The SIMA system has operated under its current authority since 
March 21, 2005. Prior to that date, authority for steel import 
licensing and monitoring was derived from Proclamation 7529 of March 5, 
2002 (67 FR 10553). Pursuant to sections 201 and 203 of the 1974 Trade 
Act, 19 U.S.C. 2251, 2253, Proclamation 7529 implemented safeguard 
measures with respect to certain imported steel products, placing 
temporary tariffs on these steel imports and providing the steel 
industry time to restructure. The monitoring system outlined in 
Proclamation 7529 required all importers of steel products to obtain a 
license from the Department prior to completing their customs entry 
summary documentation. This provided a monitoring tool to ensure that 
the effectiveness of the steel safeguard measures was not undermined by 
large quantities of imports originating from countries that were 
excluded from the tariffs. In Proclamation 7741 of December 4, 2003 (68 
FR 68483), the President terminated the steel safeguard measures, but 
directed the Secretary of Commerce to continue the monitoring system 
until the earlier of March 21, 2005, or such time as the Secretary of 
Commerce established a replacement program. On December 9, 2003, the 
Department published a notice stating that the system would continue in 
effect as described in Proclamation 7741 until March 21, 2005 (68 FR 
68594). On August 25, 2004, the Department published an advance notice 
of proposed rulemaking soliciting comments from the public on whether 
to continue the monitoring system beyond March 21, 2005 (69 FR 52211). 
Formerly known as the Steel Import Licensing and Surge Monitoring 
program, the Department changed the program's name to the Steel Import 
Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system upon publication of the August 
2004 advance notice. On March 11, 2005, the Department published an 
interim final rule responding to the comments received from the public 
and implementing a slightly expanded version of SIMA until March 21, 
2009. That interim final rule was followed by the publication of the 
final rule on December 5, 2005 (70 FR 72373). On December 12, 2008, a 
proposed rule was published in the Federal Register (73 FR 75624) 
seeking an extension of the SIMA system through March 21, 2013 and 
asking for comments from the public. The Department received twelve 
submissions, all of which expressed support for the extension. The 
Department issued the final rule to extend the application of the SIMA 
system until March 21, 2013. On November 13, 2012 (77 FR 67593), the 
Department published a proposed rule seeking comments on an extension 
of the SIMA system through March 21, 2017. The Department received 
three submissions, all of which expressed support for the extension. 
The Department is issuing this final rule to extend the application of 
the SIMA system until March 21, 2017. No other changes are being made 
to the regulations for the SIMA system.
    The purpose of the SIMA system is to provide steel producers, steel 
consumers, importers, and the general public with accurate and timely 
information on anticipated imports of certain steel products. Import 
licenses, obtained through the Internet-based SIMA licensing system, 
are required for U.S. imports of basic steel mill products. Aggregate 
import data obtained from the licenses are updated weekly and posted on 
the SIMA Web site monitor. Details of the current system can be found 
at http://ia.ita.doc.gov/steel/license.

Response to Comments

    Submissions received during the public comment period established 
in the proposed rule have been considered in preparing this final rule. 
Three submissions were received from a coalition of eight steel trade 
groups (referred to as the ``industry''), a downstream steel products 
trade group and one of the largest steel producing companies in the 
United States. All of the submissions supported the four-year extension 
and agreed that the system is a critical tool that helps the industry 
to closely monitor steel imports. The comments are summarized below. 
The three submissions received are posted on the Federal rulemaking 
portal at www.Regulations.gov as well as on the SIMA Web site at http://ia.ita.doc.gov/steel/license.
    Comment 1: Commenters strongly support the extension of the SIMA 
system for an additional four years. They state that given the 
volatility of world steel markets, the SIMA system gives the public 
access to the timeliest information possible regarding import patterns 
and changes, particularly increased volumes. They also view the system 
as an important and transparent tool to support rational decision-
making by all interested parties--steel producers, steel consumers, 
importers and U.S. government officials.
    Response: The Department agrees that the SIMA system provides the 
public valuable and timely information on steel mill imports. It also 
agrees that the public posting of aggregate import volume and pricing 
data drawn from the licenses provides all interested stakeholders with 
a more informed understanding of changing market conditions in a 
transparent manner.
    Comment 2: Commenters state that there is no significant burden on 
the steel importing community to comply with the licensing requirements 
of the SIMA system and that this has been confirmed over the last four 
years in its current format, which remains unchanged by the proposed 
rule.
    Response: The Department agrees that there is no significant burden 
on steel importers arising out of SIMA system licensing requirements. 
The web-based licensing system is automatic and free of charge. The 
Department estimates that it continues to take no longer than ten 
minutes to complete the automated license form, and for most 
applicants, the time spent is much less.
    Comment 3: Commenters suggest that the Department make the SIMA 
system permanent rather than extend it for another four years. They 
state that the system has proven its effectiveness as an important 
analytical tool for both steel producers and consumers.
    Response: Broad authority to collect information on imports is 
granted to the Secretary of Commerce and delegated to the Director of 
the Bureau of the Census. When the original safeguard authority for the 
SIMA system granted by the President expired in March 2005, the system 
was continued pursuant to this Department of Commerce information 
collection authority (13 U.S.C. 301(a) and 302). For purposes of 
administering the SIMA system, this authority was temporarily 
transferred from the Director of the Census Bureau to the Under 
Secretary for International Trade for four years. One of the conditions 
of the temporary transfer of authority to the Under Secretary for 
International Trade was that any future periodic extension of the SIMA 
system be notified to the Secretary and subject to review. Therefore, 
establishment of a permanent system is not possible under current 
authority.
    Comment 4: As in 2005, commenters suggest that the Department add 
steel wire products to the SIMA licensing requirement and import 
monitor. This would provide advance notice of

[[Page 11092]]

importation of these wire products to enable the steel wire downstream 
sector to evaluate economic and import patterns earlier than they would 
otherwise be publicly available. They indicate a particular interest in 
evaluating this data for products where there may be antidumping or 
countervailing duty orders in place.
    Response: The Department intends to continue to monitor imports and 
exports of the specific steel-containing wire products identified in 
what is known as ``the downstream monitor.'' The downstream monitor 
uses publicly available trade data and is available in a separate 
section of the SIMA monitoring system. The Department will not expand 
coverage of the SIMA licensing requirement beyond steel mill products. 
Although the Department recognizes that certain segments of the steel 
industry are interested in the Department's licensing and monitoring of 
downstream steel products, the sheer volume of entries associated with 
many of these downstream steel products (e.g. nails and staples, 
springs, fittings and flanges, and wire hangers) greatly increases the 
burden of the system on the trading community and could potentially 
overwhelm the SIMA system.
    Comment 5: Commenters propose shortening the period of time for 
which the licenses are valid, suggesting that applying for the licenses 
closer to the date of importation would increase the accuracy of the 
data gathered from the licenses.
    Response: At this time the Department is not changing the period of 
time for which the licenses are valid. Based on the Department's 
extensive experience with SIMA, shortening the license time period 
would not meaningfully improve the accuracy of the program and may 
serve to increase the burden on parties. The 60-day advance period 
during which a license may be filed provides a reasonable period of 
time for parties to make all necessary business arrangements to ship 
goods while providing full transparency for all parties to better 
understand and properly anticipate market conditions. The Department 
currently provides the license applicant the opportunity to amend and/
or cancel the licenses as needed to reflect the actual terms of the 
shipment, should there be changes after the license application.
    For the reasons discussed above, the proposed rule (19 CFR part 
360) is made final without changes.

Classification

Executive Order 12866

    This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866.

Executive Order 13132

    This rule does not contain policies with federalism implications as 
that term is defined in Executive Order 13132.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration at the proposed rule stage, that this rule, if adopted, 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities as that term is defined in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. The factual basis for the certification is 
found in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were 
received on the certification or the economic impacts of this action. 
As a result, no final regulatory flexibility analysis is required and 
none was prepared.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). These requirements have 
been approved by OMB (OMB No. 0625-0245; Expiration Date: 12/31/2014). 
Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be 
less than ten minutes per response, including the time for reviewing 
instructions and completing and reviewing the collection of 
information. All responses to this collection of information are 
voluntary, and will be provided confidentially to the extent allowed by 
law.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required 
to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure 
to comply with, a collection of information subject to the Paperwork 
Reduction Act unless that collection displays a currently valid OMB 
Control Number.

List of Subjects in 19 CFR Part 360

    Administrative practice and procedure, Business and industry, 
Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Steel.

    Dated: February 8, 2013.
Francisco J. S[aacute]nchez,
Under Secretary for International Trade.

    For reasons discussed in the preamble, 19 CFR part 360 is amended 
to read as follows:

PART 360--STEEL IMPORT MONITORING AND ANALYSIS SYSTEM

0
1. The authority citation for part 360 continues to read as follows:

     Authority:  13 U.S.C. 301(a) and 302.


0
2. Section 360.105 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  360.105  Duration of the steel import licensing requirement.

    The licensing program will be in effect through March 21, 2017, but 
may be extended upon review and notification in the Federal Register 
prior to this expiration date. Licenses will be required on all subject 
imports entered during this period, even if the entry summary documents 
are not filed until after the expiration of this program. The licenses 
will be valid for 10 business days after the expiration of this program 
to allow for the final filing of required Customs documentation.

[FR Doc. 2013-03619 Filed 2-14-13; 8:45 am]
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