Trade News Updates – March 2021
With much of the country managing through the effects of frigid temperatures, what feels like non-stop snowfalls, and of course the unprecedented vessel backlog on the West Coast, the trade is still working through the uncertainty of trade policy including China and EU Section 301 tariffs, GSP renewal, and an increased focus on imports suspected of Forced Labor use in manufacturing.
Remaining China Section 301 Exclusions to Expire Soon
Although a majority of the granted product exclusions from the China Section 301 tariffs expired at the end of 2020, there are a few more lists that are still in effect but will expire over the next month.
Exclusion Extensions Granted March 25, 2020 – This list of product exclusion extensions was provided in the March 19, 2020, Federal Register, and included two exclusions at the full ten-digit HTS level, and nine specifically provided product descriptions. These exclusions were granted extensions for one year, and are set to expire on March 25, 2021.
Exclusion Extensions Granted April 18, 2020 – This list of product exclusion extensions was provided in the April 10, 2020, Federal Register, and included eight specifically provided product descriptions. These exclusions were granted extensions for one year, and are set to expire on April 18, 2021.
COVID Related Exclusions – On December 29, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published, in the Federal Register, extended or new exclusions necessary to address COVID-19. The Federal Register provided four lists of products (Annex A-D) accounting for 100 products including masks, gowns, gloves, thermometers, disinfectants, and other products used in hospitals. These exclusions are set to expire on March 31, 2021.
For a full list and status of China Section 301 exclusions, please see our website here.
EU Section 301 Tariffs Related to WTO Large Civil Aircraft Dispute to Stay in Place
The U.S. Trade Representative together with the affected United States industry have agreed that it is unnecessary at this time to revise the action in the Section 301 investigation involving the enforcement of U.S. rights in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute involving Large Civil Aircraft subsidies provided by certain current or former member States of the European Union. The U.S. Trade Representative will continue to consider the action taken in the investigation. See the Federal Register Notice here.
GSP Renewal Hangs in Limbo
The Generalized System of Preference (GSP), which provides duty-free entry for goods produced in developing countries, expired on December 31, 2020. Although Congress is expected to renew the GSP in 2021, there is debate whether to reauthorize the program “as is” or revise the GSP eligibility criteria to include environmental and labor conditions. This debate caused the lapse in reauthorization; however, this is not the first time this has happened. Until Congress reauthorizes the program, importers can continue to flag their entries with the GSP program indicator, as renewal is expected to be retroactive, and duties paid during the lapse will be refunded.
CBP Publishes Frequently Asked Questions Related to Forced Labor
CBP posted on its website answers to Frequently Asked Questions related to the regional Withhold Release Order (WRO) on goods produced using forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. This new WRO was issued based on findings of human rights violations including forced labor in the production of cotton and tomato products. In particular, Importers should pay special attention to the “Proof of Admissibility” section of the FAQs. This section describes the documents, including full production records, which will be required to be made available to CBP upon request.
Extension of Travel Restrictions for Northern and Southern Borders
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the extension, through March 21st, of the temporarily limit of travel of individuals from Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada border and from Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Mexico border. Such travel will be limited to “essential travel,” as further defined in the notices. The travel bans do not apply to cargo, and exempt border crossings from Canada or Mexico to work in the U.S.