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Section 301 Tariffs – Recent Developments

In the past few months, the United States has rolled out three lists of Section 301 tariffs that it has imposed, or will soon impose, on products being imported from China.  For each list there has been, or will soon be, both a public comment period – during which companies could ask for specific tariff lines to be removed from the proposed list of tariffs – followed by a product exclusion process – during which companies can ask that specific products imported under an effected tariff line to be excluded from the higher duty rates.

In the past 24 hours, there have been three significant developments:

  • The Trump Administration finalized List 3 of the Section 301 tariffs.  Approximately 300 of the proposed 6,300 List 3 tariff lines were removed as a result of public comments.  From September 24-December 31, 2018, products on List 3 will face an additional 10 percent duty.  Starting on January 1, the additional tariffs on these products will increase to 25 percent.

  • This morning, China announced it would retaliate against the United States’ most recent action by imposing 5 or 10 percent tariffs on approximately 5,200 U.S. products worth $60 billion.

  • The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced a product exclusion process for List 2 of the Trump Administration’s Section 301 tariffs via the Federal Register.  Similar to the product exclusion process for List 1, requesters are encouraged to file using a yet-to-be-released form from USTR and asked to address whether (1) the product is available only from China, (2) the increased duties would cause severe economic harm to the requester or other US interests, and (3) the product is strategically important or related to “Made in China 2025” or other Chinese industrial programs.  If an exclusion is granted under this process, it would apply retroactively to August 23.  The product exclusion requests will be due December 18.

Finally, there are reports that China may cancel high-level bilateral meetings tentatively planned for later this month.

For your convenience, all of the upcoming deadlines are listed below.


Exclusion Process

Public Comment Period

  • List 1 (818 Tariff lines/$34 billion worth of Chinese products)
  • Product exclusion process open through October 9, 2018
  • Public comment period is closed.  Tariffs imposed as of July 6.
  • List 2 (284 tariff lines/$16 billion worth of Chinese products)
  • Product exclusion process open through December 18, 2018
  • Public comment period is closed. Tariffs imposed August 23.
  • List 3 (approximately 6,000 tariff lines/$200 billion worth of Chinese products)
  • Product exclusion expected, but not announced.
  • Public comment period closed.  Tariffs to be imposed September 24.
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About this Author

Frank Samolis, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm, International Trade Attorney

Frank Samolis is co-chair of our International Trade Practice. He advises clients on international trade matters, including trade law, trade policy and legislation, and international trade negotiations. He is also chair of our India Practice Group and the leader of our Colombia Desk, Latin America Task Force.

Rory Murphy, Squire Patton, public policy guidance lawyer, business diplomacy attorney

Rory Murphy is a member of our Public Policy Practice, where he focuses on providing US public policy guidance, global cultural and business diplomacy advice that helps US and foreign governments and entities with doing business around the globe.

Rory joins the firm after spending two years as a Policy Analyst at the US Export-Import Bank (EXIM), where he represented the agency at international negotiations on export finance at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and at the International Working Group on Export Credits. He briefed and advised Chairman Fred Hochberg, board members and senior staff members on issues related to China, trade policy and international developments in export lending. Rory has in-depth experience in analyzing bank programs and policies and assessing their compliance with international obligations.