Reinstatement of Certain China Tariff Exclusions by USTR
On March 23, 2022, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced its decision to renew tariff exclusions for 352 categories of goods (approximately two thirds of the goods were previously granted exemptions) covered by the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese products. The reinstated tariff exclusions will be effective retroactively beginning Oct. 12, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2022.
The renewed tariff exclusions cover a wide range of products, including auto parts, motors, electrical equipment, chemicals, textiles, consumer electronics, electrical equipment, LED/LCD, bikes, motorcycles, seafood, medical equipment, building materials, robots, bags, pillows, and household products. The renewed exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the product exclusion regardless of whether the specific importer previously filed an exclusion request with USTR. A full list of tariff exclusions can be found here.
In a statement released by USTR last year, USTR explained that the key factors and criteria to be considered in decisions on possible reinstatement include (1) whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries; (2) any changes in the global supply chain since September 2018 with respect to the particular product or any other relevant industry developments; (3) the efforts, if any, the importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since September 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries; and (4) domestic capacity for producing the product in the United States. USTR also considered whether or not reinstating the exclusion would impact or result in severe economic harm to the commenter or other U.S. interests, including the impact on small businesses, employment, manufacturing output, and critical supply chains.
At this time, there is no indication from USTR that it will expand the list to include other products that previously were included in now expired exclusions or that were not previously granted an exclusion. However, it is possible that Congress may force USTR’s hand. The House and the Senate have announced that they will establish a conference committee to negotiate over proposed legislation that potentially would reinstate more of the expired Section 301 exclusions and require USTR to consider new exclusion requests for any product covered by Section 301 tariffs.