This morning, the US Trade Representative announced a third list of HTS numbers totaling approximately $200 billion in imports from China. The escalating tit-for-tat between the United States and China shows no sign of abating and US importers and exporters are the ones directly feeling the impact. US consumers are sure to start to feel the heat as some of the items on this list are things that are purchased directly at retailers like luggage, bicycles, fresh and frozen fruit and some sporting goods. The press release is here, the proposed list and draft Federal Register notice are here.
The published list is not final as it is subject to comment and public hearings. As of right now, Section 301 duties of 25% only apply to this list of 818 HTS numbers and that went into effect last Friday, July 6th.
On Friday when the 25% duties went into effect, the USTR also published guidance on how exclusions could be requested from this duty and would be retroactive to July 6th if their applications were approved. From the USTR’s announcement:
The exclusion process has the following important dates and features:
The public will have 90 days to file a request for a product exclusion; the request period will end on October 9, 2018.
Following public posting of the filed request on Regulations.gov, the public will have 14 days to file responses to the request for product exclusion. After the close of the 14 day response period, interested persons will have an additional 7 days to reply to any responses received in support of or opposition to the request.
Exclusions will be effective for one year upon the publication of the exclusion determination in the Federal Register, and will apply retroactively to July 6, 2018.
This is a huge opportunity for importers who would otherwise have their goods priced out of market competitiveness. There is no guarantee that the requests will be approved, but it is at least a broad relief because unlike antidumping and countervailing scope rulings which are very narrow and targeted or binding rulings which, legally, only apply to the requestor, any importers of products which receive relief can take advantage of that decision.