On September 6, 2023, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), the agency responsible for implementing the Section 301 tariffs on imports from China, announced the further extension of 352 exclusions and 77 COVID-19-related exclusions.
Per the USTR’s notice published in the Federal Register, the exclusions that were originally set to expire on September 30, 2023, will now be extended until December 31, 2023. According to the USTR, this extension is necessary to provide a transition period for the expiring exclusions and to allow the agency further consideration of its mandatory ongoing review of the Section 301 tariffs.
The exclusions are available for any imported product from China that meets the description in the relevant product exclusion. The 352 exclusions cover a wide variety of manufacturing components and consumer products, including, but not limited to, pumps, compressors, roller machines, solar water heaters, and air purification equipment (see the annex to the Federal Register here for the list of the exclusions). The 77 COVID-19-related exclusions continue to cover various medical-care products (see the annex to the Federal Register here for the list of COVID-related exclusions).
Importers are encouraged to contact their ArentFox Schiff counsel to determine whether any products they plan to import qualify for potential duty savings from these exclusions.
Status of the USTR Comment and Review Process
The Federal Register notice indicates that the four-year mandatory review process remains “ongoing.” As discussed in a previous alert, on October 12, 2022, the UTSR announced that its four-year review had moved to Phase 2, whereby all interested parties —including parties objecting to the continuation of the tariffs — would have an opportunity to comment. The USTR opened a docket from November 15, 2022, to January 17, 2023. A total of approximately 1,500 comments, both in favor and against the Section 301 tariffs, were submitted on the docket.
The USTR expect to complete its review of these comments in the next two to three months at which time the public will have a better indication as to whether the agency will modify or eliminate the tariffs on entire product lists or on specific products. Thus, this ongoing process may result in significant changes to the applicability of Section 301 tariffs on a wide range of products from China.