Aluminum Import Monitoring System in the Works

The Department of Commerce is requesting comments up until May 29, 2020 on a proposed rule to establish an Aluminum Import Monitoring And Analysis System (AIM System), as well as to require import license applicants to identify certain specifications. This concept is similar to the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system, which recently underwent some changes itself, but has been operating since March 11, 2005.

The AIM system, much like the SIMA system, would monitor and look for import surges of specific aluminum products. It would also monitor potential transshipment and circumvention of U.S. trade measures relating to those products.

License applicants would also be required:

  • to identify the country where the aluminum used in the manufacture of the imported aluminum product was smelted and poured,
  • to release the data on an aggregate basis, as appropriate;
  • to apply the licensing requirement to cover all imports of basic aluminum products (listed below).

Comments due by 5:00 pm EST on May 29, 2020.

Submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking PortalEnter Docket ITA–2020–200408–0103. All comments will be public, so do not submit anything you want to keep confidential. Any procedural questions should be addressed to E&C Communications Office at (202) 482–0063 or

The License Applications for AIM will be comprised of three parts:

  • an online registration system for aluminum importers
  • an automated aluminum license issuance
  • an import monitoring website with historical data

Who would this effect?

Importers of basic aluminum products (listed in Annex II), which include all
aluminum products currently subject to Section 232 tariff, will be required to obtain an aluminum import license for each shipment and must provide the license number to CBP as part of the submission of the entry summary, or its electronic equivalent.

Acquiring the Aluminum Import License

  • An importer must first register with Commerce and be assigned a username. This username will be required to log on to the aluminum import license issuance system. Although a primary username will be issued to an importing company or brokerage house, all operating units within the company (e.g., individual branches, divisions or employees) may have separate usernames associated with different email addresses that will be associated with the parent company. The aluminum import license issuance system will be designed to allow multiple users of a single identification number from different locations within the company to enter information simultaneously.
  • Any company or broker with a United States address may register and obtain a username.
  • There is no fee to register and a username will be issued immediately if all registration fields are filled out.
  • A single license can cover multiple products as long as the information at the top of the form (i.e., importer, exporter, manufacturer, and country of origin and exportation, and the expected dates of exportation and expected date of importation) are the same for the shipment. However, separate licenses will be required if any of the information above differs with respect to a given set of covered imported aluminum products. As a result, a single CBP entry may require more than one aluminum import license.
  • The aluminum import license can be applied for up to 60 days prior to the expected date of importation and until the date of filing of the entry summary documents, or its electronic equivalent. The aluminum import license is valid for up to 75 days; however, import licenses that were valid on the date of importation but expired prior to the filing of entry summary data will be accepted. Foreign trade zones will be handled differently.
  • The only exceptions are low-valued imports or informal entries. For example, no import license shall be required on informal entries of aluminum products, such as merchandise valued at less than $2,500. For shipments containing less than $5,000 worth of aluminum, applicants can apply for a reusable Low-Value License.

In order to obtain the license, the applicant must report the following information about the aluminum import transaction:

  • Filer company name and address;
  • Filer contact name, phone number, fax number and email address;
  • Entry type (i.e., Consumption, Foreign Trade Zone);
  • Importer name;
  • Exporter name;
  • Manufacturer name (filer may state ‘‘unknown’’)
  • Country of origin;
  • Country of exportation;
  • Expected date of export;
  • Expected date of import;
  • Expected port of entry;
  • Current HTS number (from Chapters 76);
  • Country where aluminum was smelted and poured;
  • Quantity (in kilograms) and
  • Customs value (U.S. $).

Background of SIMA

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 into the United
States. Steel import licenses, issued through the online SIMA licensing system, are required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for filing entry summary documentation, or its electronic equivalent, for imports of
certain steel mill products into the United States. Through the monitoring
tool, certain import data collected from the licenses are aggregated weekly and reported on the publicly available SIMA system website. This tool provides valuable data regarding certain steel mill imports into the United States as early as possible and makes such data available to the public approximately five weeks in advance of official U.S. import statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau (Census).