[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 51 (Wednesday, March 18, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11474-11476]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-6013]



International Trade Administration

19 CFR Part 360

[Docket No.: 0809261282-9117-02]
RIN 0625-AA82

Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis System

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

ACTION: Final rule.


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, 2013. The purpose of the SIMA 
system is to provide 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 

DATES: This final rule is effective March 18, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the SIMA system, 
please contact Kelly Parkhill (202) 482-3791 or Julie Al-Saadawi (202) 



    The SIMA system has been operating under its current authority 
since March 21, 2005. Prior to this date, authority for steel import 
licensing and monitoring was derived from the Proclamation 7529 of 
March 5, 2002, which placed temporary tariffs on many steel imports and 
provided 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 safeguard 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 advanced notice of 
proposed rulemaking soliciting comments from the public on whether to 
continue the monitoring system beyond March 21, 2005 (69 FR 52211). 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 was

[[Page 11475]]

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 comments all supportive of the extension.
    The Department issues this final rule to extend the application of 
the SIMA system until March 21, 2013. No other changes are 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 on U.S. imports of basic 
steel mill products. Aggregate import data obtained from the licenses 
is updated weekly and posted on the SIMA Web site monitor. Details of 
the current system can be found on 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. 
Twelve submissions were received from individual steel producers, 
various industry and distributor trade groups, and the United 
Steelworkers. All of the comments received were supportive of 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 twelve comments received are posted on the 
Federal rulemaking portal at www.Regulations.gov and they are also 
posted 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 stated 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. They also see it as an important and transparent tool to 
support rational decision-making by all interested parties--steel 
producers, steel users, importers and U.S. government officials.
    Response: The Department agrees that the SIMA system provides the 
public valuable timely information on steel imports. It also agrees 
that the posting of aggregate import volume and pricing data drawn from 
the licenses on a public website provides all interested stakeholders 
with a better understanding of changing market conditions in a 
transparent fashion.
    Comment 2: Commenters stated 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 
    Response: The Department agrees with the comments 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 completely fill out the automated license 
form and for most applicants the time expended 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 extensions of the SIMA 
system be notified to the Secretary and subject to review. Therefore, 
establishment of a permanent system is not possible under current 
    Comment 4: Commenters suggested that the Department add metal 
forming products to the downstream monitor to the extent they can be 
defined by HTSUS codes.
    Response: The Department intends to add these products to the 
downstream monitor using publicly available data.
    For the reasons discussed above, the proposed rule (19 CFR part 
360) is made final without changes.


Executive Order 12866

    This rule has been determined to be 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.

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive 
the 30-day delay in effectiveness. The Department issues this final 
rule to extend the requirement for import licenses through the 
Internet-based SIMA licensing system on U.S. imports of basic steel 
mill products of the SIMA system until March 21, 2013. 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. This final rule would 
extend the requirement for such licenses from March 21, 2009 until 
March 21, 2013. It is necessary to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness to ensure that the regulations requiring importers to 
obtain an import license from the SIMA system do not terminate, thereby 
ensuring the collection of timely and complete data on imports of 
covered items, and possibly preventing confusion or delay of imports at 
entry summary. If the Department were to allow for the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness, there would be a lapse in the requirement for an import 
license. As a result, importers may be confused about the need for a 
license and delay their filing of summary documents while trying to 
obtain one which could lead to possible fines and penalties. In 
addition, without current information from the licenses, the monitor 
would fall out of date and the public would be without the quality 
information they have come to depend upon. Therefore, to ensure the 
collection of timely and complete data, and to prevent any confusion 
and delay associated with a lapse in the license requirements for SIMA, 
the Department finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness, and to make these regulations effective upon 

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 that the proposed rule, if adopted, would not

[[Page 11476]]

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 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 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: 09/30/2011). 
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 
    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: March 13, 2009.
Michelle O'Neill,
Acting Under Secretary for International Trade.

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


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

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

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, 2013, 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. E9-6013 Filed 3-16-09; 4:15 pm]