The Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) today published a request for comments on the proposed modifications and machinery exclusion process in its Four-Year Review of Section 301 tariffs (the “Review”), published last week. The Review did not recommend removing any subheadings from Section 301 tariffs, but rather proposed the following increases:

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

The Review also proposes a framework for establishing an exclusion process for machinery used in domestic manufacturing under HTS Chapters 84 and 85, as well as 19 types of solar manufacturing equipment covered under Chapter 84. No mention was made in the Review of a possible extension of Section 301 exclusions currently in place for the 352 assorted and 77 Covid-19-related exclusions scheduled to expire on May 31, 2024; however, a separate Federal Register notice published today details extensions of certain exclusions through May 31, 2025. All exclusions currently in place will be extended at least until June 14, 2025, after which exclusions currently in place for 102 products–for which USTR has determined no effect of tariffs on shifting production from China with no comments submitted to the contrary–will expire.

Per USTR, interested parties are invited to comment on the following:

  • The effectiveness of the proposed modification in obtaining the elimination of or in counteracting China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
  • The effects of the proposed modification on the U.S. economy, including consumers.
  • The scope of the product description to cover ship-to-shore cranes under subheading 8426.19.00 (Transporter cranes, gantry cranes and bridge cranes).
  • With respect to facemasks, medical gloves, and syringes and needles, whether the tariff rates should be higher than the proposed rates.
  • With respect to facemasks, whether additional statistical reporting codes under tariff subheading 6307.90.98 should be included.
  • Whether the tariff subheadings identified for each product and sector adequately cover the products and sectors included in the President’s direction to the Trade Representative.

USTR is also seeking comments on whether the proposed exclusions of subheadings of Chapters 84 and 85 included in the notice should be altered, as well as comments on the scope of exclusions relating to solar manufacturing equipment.

The comment docket will open May 29 and will remain open until June 28, 2024. USTR is expected to post a copy of questions for which it seeks comments on May 24, 2024. Please reach out to [insert attorney name here] if you wish to have Crowell submit comments on your behalf.

Read a copy of the notice here.

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