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U.S. Targets $200 Billion of Chinese Products for Additional 10 Percent Tariff

On July 10, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released another notice in the ongoing trade dispute with China proposing a new list of imports from China, worth approximately $200 billion, that could be subject to an additional 10 percent tariff.

The newest list continues the Trump administration’s remedies pursuant to the USTR’s Section 301 investigation regarding “China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation” that were determined to be “unreasonable and discriminatory, and a burden to U.S. commerce.” As noted in our previous client alert, President Trump directed USTR to identify $200 billion of additional Chinese imported goods that would be subject to this 10 percent tariff because China retaliated against U.S. tariffs implemented by USTR on June 15, 2018.

Following President Trump’s mandate, China’s Commerce Ministry promised that Beijing will continue to fight back with qualitative and quantitative measures if such additional tariffs are implemented. In turn, President Trump threatened that if China increases tariffs again in retaliation for the latest move, the U.S. “will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.” If tensions continue to escalate, as it stands, the U.S. will target $450 billion worth of Chinese imported products, which may effectively cover all imports from China.

USTR claims that this newest list was developed by trade analysts who considered products from across all sectors of the Chinese economy. The subheadings included in this list also contain those that commenters suggested for inclusion in response to previously proposed lists.

As with previous lists proposed by USTR, this list will undergo a notice and comment period in which the public and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Notice and Comment Period for the Proposed List

Pursuant to Section 304(b) of the Trade Act, these tariffs may only go into effect after a notice and comment period. Interested parties may present arguments on which products should be removed from, or remain on, the list and why. The notice and comment period due dates are below.

  • July 27, 2018: Due date for filing requests to appear and a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing, and for filing pre-hearing submissions.

  • August 17, 2018: Due date for submission of written comments.

  • August 20–23, 2018: Public hearing at the U.S. International Trade Commission (500 E Street SW, Washington, D.C., 20436 beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET).

  • August 30, 2018: Due date for submission of post-hearing rebuttal comments.

USTR is requesting comments on whether specific tariff subheadings in this list should be kept or removed from the list; whether subheadings not on this list should be added; the level of increase, if any, in the rate of duty; and the appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by additional duties. USTR is also asking commenters to address whether these additional duties will be “be practicable or effective to obtain the elimination of China’s acts, policies, and practices, and whether maintaining or imposing additional duties on a particular product would cause disproportionate economic harm to U.S. interests, including small- or medium-size businesses and consumers.”

In order to appear at the August 20–23 public hearing, a party must submit its request to appear by July 27. Such a request must include a summary of the testimony and may be accompanied by a pre-hearing submission. The remarks at the hearing may be no longer than five minutes.

Companies with products identified in this list, as well as those companies and investors that have interests in China, or may be contemplating potential tie-ups or investments with Chinese companies, should consider commenting on these proposed additional duties. As the dates detailed above are fast approaching, it is important that companies organize quickly to submit comments and to prepare for the USTR hearing.

©2018 Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved

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About this Author

Kathleen Murphy, International trade Lawyer, Drinker Biddle
Partner

Kathleen M. Murphy counsels clients on maximizing trade benefits, making informed global procurement decisions and developing domestic and international trade compliance programs. She represents clients in duty-recovery initiatives and customs challenges concerning tariff classification, valuation, Free Trade Agreements and country of origin determinations, among other areas. She guides clients through compliance audits and validations, as well as penalty investigations conducted by U.S. or foreign customs authorities. She also represents clients in...

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James Sawyer, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Chicago, Trade Law Attorney
Partner

James L. Sawyer counsels clients in all areas of U.S. import laws and regulations, including tariff classification, valuation, origin determination and marking, Free Trade Agreements, and duty preference programs. He chairs the firm’s Customs and International Trade Team and is the Regional Partner in Charge of the firm's Chicago office.

James represents clients in enforcement proceedings and investigations, Focused Assessment audits, and other verification proceedings conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He frequently assists clients craft responses to formal CBP Requests for Information and Notices of Action, which are often precursors to more aggressive CBP enforcement proceedings. 

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Mollie Sitkowski, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Chicago, Trade Law Attorney
Associate

Mollie D. Sitkowski assists clients in ensuring their internal processes meet Customs' "reasonable care" standard. She assists clients with various aspects of trade law, including valuation, classification, free trade agreements, country of origin determinations, and auditing their import documentation to identify potential issues and risk areas. Mollie also supports clients with export compliance, including advising on export screening and classification, and filing license classification requests and voluntary disclosures with the Bureau of Industry...

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Luke Karamyali, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Chicago, International Trade Law Attorney
Associate

Luke J. Karamyalil assists his clients in all aspects of international trade laws and regulations, including import and export compliance. He also assists clients in ensuring their internal processes meet Customs’ “reasonable care” standard. Luke has experience helping clients navigate specific trade laws and regulations, including those that arise under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, anti-boycott compliance, Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (FOCI) mitigation, and anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

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