On November 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce published in the Federal Register (83 FR 60393) Procedures for Participating in User Testing of the New Commerce 232 Exclusion Process Portal
SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce has developed an online portal that will replace the use of the Federal rulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov) for persons submitting exclusion requests, objections to exclusion requests, rebuttals, and surrebuttals in connection with duties or quotas imposed pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (``232''). In order to improve the 232 exclusion process, the Department of Commerce plans to transition to the new Commerce 232 portal sometime in late 2018 to early 2019. This notice describes the process for the public to submit requests to participate in the public testing phase of the new Commerce 232 portal, and the procedures for attending the public testing.
DATES: The public testing will be held on December 6 and 7, 2018 at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 6872A, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230. Each public testing day will be broken into a morning session from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Two components of the Department of Commerce, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the International Trade Administration (ITA), have developed a new Commerce 232 portal to facilitate parties' ability to make 232 exclusion-related submissions, and the Department of Commerce's management of the 232 exclusion process. The new Commerce 232 portal will replace the use of the Federal rulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov) for parties submitting exclusion requests, objections to exclusions requests, rebuttals, and surrebuttals under the 232 exclusion process. The new portal will streamline the exclusion process for external parties, including importers and domestic manufacturers, by replacing the data collection point with web-based forms, which will enhance data integrity and quality controls. In addition, this new system will allow parties to more easily view all exclusion request, objection, rebuttal, and surrebuttal documents in one, web-based system. Finally, parties will be able to track submission deadlines in this same system. The new portal will also allow for better collaboration between government agencies processing 232 exclusion requests.
The Department of Commerce plans to transition to the new Commerce 232 portal sometime in late 2018 to early 2019, once testing is completed and any final updates are made. This notice describes the process for the public to submit requests to participate in the public testing phase of the new Commerce 232 portal, and the procedures for attending the public testing.
Once the Commerce 232 portal is ready to be implemented, the Department of Commerce will publish a rule making changes to the 232 exclusion process in Supplements No. 1 (for steel exclusion requests) and 2 (for aluminum exclusion requests) to Part 705. The public will have an opportunity to submit comments on the new portal once the rule is published. As much as possible, the Department of Commerce seeks input from the public on the new Commerce 232 portal prior to it going live, and believes allowing parties that will use the new portal to test it and provide feedback to the development team prior to implementation will be beneficial to both the Department and the public users of the system.