Industry News

Trade News Updates

By Margaret Lange

In the last few weeks we have seen new Section 301 exclusions, amendments, expirations and certain exclusion extensions. Comment periods are still open for multiple expiring exclusion lists. Additionally, The USTR is set to remove special trade treatment for Hong Kong and will be opening an online portal for comments on EU Section 301 Tariffs.

China Section 301 New Exclusions, Amendments and Extensions

USTR Grants New Product Exclusions for Tranche 3

On Thursday, May 21st, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a notice of the fourteenth (14th) list of product exclusions from the third tranche (List 3) of Section 301 tariffs on $200 Billion in goods from China. The new exclusions include seventeen 10-digit HTSUS subheadings, which covers 33 separate exclusion requests, and 61 specially prepared product descriptions, which cover 70 separate exclusion requests. The product exclusions apply retroactively to Sept. 24, 2019, the date that List 3 tariffs took effect and extend to August 7, 2020. Any importer can take advantage of the exclusion.

To review exclusion requests submitted to the USTR for List 3, please see the Public Docket (USTR-2019-0005) here.

Amendments to List 4A Granted Exclusions

On May 26th, the USTR posted a Notice of Product Exclusion Amendments to the exclusions granted in the fourth list of exclusions related Tranche 4B of $300 Billion in goods imported from China. The amendments delete two exclusions

  1. (4) Tumblers or disposable graduated liners for pitchers, of plastics, of a kind used in healthcare facilities (described in statistical reporting number 3924.10.4000); and
  2. (6) Manually operated pill or tablet crushers of plastics, presented with attachable pouches of plastics for capturing and storing the resulting powders (described in statistical reporting number 8479.82.0080).

The amendments are effective with respect to goods entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on September 1, 2019.

More Extensions Granted for Certain Exclusion

On May 28th, the USTR granted extensions to certain products in the fifth (5th) list of exclusions for products listed in Tranche 1 of $34 Billion in goods imported from China. The USTR notice granted sixteen (16) specific product exclusion extensions effective June 4, 2020 and expiring on December 31, 2020. The remaining 73 product exclusions in list four will expire on June 4, 2020.

For more information on these or any previous exclusions, please feel free to reach out to our import team.

Comment Period for Final Three Lists of Tranche 3 Exclusions

Earlier in May, the USTR opened a comment period for the first 11 exclusion lists for Tranche 3 China Tariffs that all expire on August 7, 2020. On Friday, May 29th, the USTR decided to consider possible extension, for up to 12 months, for the final three exclusion notices. The USTR posted a notice to open a separate public docket for comments on whether to extend particular exclusions. The comment period opens June 8th and will close on July 7th.

State Department – Hong Kong Does Not Warrant Special Trade Treatment

Chinese Law Makers proposed new national security legislation in Hong Kong, which negates Hong Kong’s promised 50-year autonomy and freedoms as part of the 1997 Sino-British Joint Declaration. As a result, the Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State, U.S. State Department released a statement yesterday stating that this change would force the U.S. to no longer identify Hong Kong as separate from China; and therefore, Hong Kong would no longer be eligible for Special Trade Treatment.  On Friday, May 29, 2020, President Donald Trump announced that he will begin to takes steps eliminate the policy exemptions that give Hong Kong special treatment.

Among other implications, this would mean that exports from Hong Kong to the U.S. would be subject to the same import duty rates applied to China including Section 301 duties.

See the Statement by U.S. Dept. of State, Michael Pompeo Press Statement here.

USTR to Open Comment Portal for Section 301 EU Tariffs

The USTR made and emergency clearance request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create an online portal for the trade to submit comments on the Section 301 retaliatory tariffs on goods imported from the European Union (EU) related to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Airbus Dispute.

Under section 306(c) of the Trade Act, the U.STR must make revisions 120 days after he took action, and every 180 days thereafter unless certain conditions are met. Before making revisions, the USTR is required to seek public comments regarding the removal of products from the Section 301 list; keep products on the list; or to add new products to the list. The USTR is expecting to have the new online portal available for the trade to submit comments by June 23, 2020.

Interested parties can submit comments about the creation of the online portal information collection request (ICR), including the title Large Civil Aircraft Dispute Portal, to www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain. Find this ICR by selecting `Currently under Review—Open for Public Comments’ or by using the search function.

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