This week, President Biden has directed the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) to take further action against Chinese unfair trading practices following the release of the statutory four-year review of Section 301 tariffs against the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). Per Biden’s direction, Ambassador Katherine Tai announced that she will be proposing modifications to existing China tariffs under Section 301, while also maintaining existing tariffs on certain goods. Among the proposed modifications to Section 301 tariffs are the addition of tariffs for certain chemicals and machinery, as well as increases to certain products as seen in the chart below. The proposed tariff additions and modifications would cover an additional $18 billion worth of goods, bringing the total amount of China-origin goods covered by Section 301 to around $370 billion.

ProductActionGoes into effect:
Battery parts (non-lithium-ion batteries)      Increase rate to 25%2024
Electric vehicles        Increase rate to 100%2024
Facemasks      Increase rate to 25%2024
Lithium-ion electrical vehicle batteries         Increase rate to 25%2024
Lithium-ion non-electrical vehicle batteriesIncrease rate to 25%2026
Medical gloves           Increase rate to 25%2026
Natural graphiteIncrease rate to 25%2026
Other critical mineralsIncrease rate to 25%2024
Permanent magnetsIncrease rate to 25%2026
Semiconductors         Increase rate to 50%2025
Ship to shore cranes   Increase rate to 25%2024
Solar cells (whether or not assembled into modules)Increase rate to 50%2024
Steel and aluminum productsIncrease rate to 25%2024
Syringes and needles             Increase rate to 50%2024

In addition to these new tariffs, the USTR report recommends the establishment of an exclusion process for certain products, such as manufacturing equipment—particularly solar manufacturing equipment—though it fails to address exclusions currently in place for certain medical and non-medical products, which are set to expire at the end of May.

The USTR will issue a Federal Register notice next week to announce procedures for interested parties to comment on the proposed modifications, as well as to request information concerning the new exclusion process for machinery used in domestic manufacturing.

Finally, the report advocates for more funding to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) to enhance the agency’s enforcement capacity with regard to Section 301 actions.

Crowell & Moring, LLP continues to monitor developments in the customs and trade remedies space and their potential impact on customers and businesses going forward.