The 116th Congress begins on January 3, 2019. Based on projections from yesterday’s midterms, Democrats will control the House of Representatives by a narrow margin, while Republicans will expand their hold on the Senate. The changes to Congress are likely to shape trade policy through 2019, but much will depend on how House Democrats use their new majority, and whether trade is a priority issue or whether it will be overtaken by domestic issues.

Companies will have to carefully navigate the new political environment in order to advance their policy objectives. In addition to accounting for the hard-nosed approach to trade taken by the current administration, an effective policy engagement strategy will have to account for the new political dynamics created by newly empowered House Democrats and a potentially polarized Congress. Companies should be prepared to intervene on issues that are likely to come up in 2019, including: ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA); trade negotiations with the EU, Japan, and the UK; and the ongoing U.S. tariff interventions on China and for sensitive sectors.

Below is our best forecast for the makeup of the trade- and foreign affairs-related committees for the 116th Congress, and their voting record on key pieces of trade legislation:



China PNTR

U.S.-Colombia FTA  (2012)

Korea-U.S.-FTA (2012)


House Ways and Means
Chair: Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts)






Ranking Member: Kevin Brady (R-Texas)






House Foreign Affairs
Chair: Eliot Engel (D-New York)






Ranking Member: Michael McCaul (R-Texas) OR






Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina)






Senate Finance
Chair: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) OR






Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

Nay (as House member)





Ranking Member: Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)






Senate Foreign Relations
Chair: Jim Risch (R-Idaho)






Ranking Member: Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey)






* China Permanent Normal Trade Relations
** Trade Promotion Authority

We expect the following impacts on 2019 U.S. trade priorities:

Impact on U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA)

The new USMCA is expected to be signed at the end of this month. USMCA would have likely passed in a Republican-held Congress on a bumpy but ultimately consistent trajectory. It will still likely enjoy broad backing in the Republican Senate. With Democrats now in control the House, there may be some new challenges to ratification.

Some of the new provisions in USMCA give cover for Democratic support—including the new wage-based rule of origin for autos and new enforceable labor rules, along with the weakening of investor-state dispute settlement. The Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), which includes the leaders of United Steelworkers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, last week expressed unanimous support for the agreement. But these changes still might not be enough to gain wide Democratic support. The Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (LAC) noted several reservations on the agreement. Major environmental groups are also already preparing for a major advocacy campaign against USMCA. We expect House Democrats to seek additional concessions from the administration, particularly on the enforceability of the new labor provisions, on the environment, or possibly in the area of intellectual property protections.

If USMCA is signed on November 30, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) would have to publish a study on its probable economic impacts by March 15, 2019, according to Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) procedures. The agreement could theoretically be voted on at any point after publication of the report, but difficulties in assembling the needed votes for implementing legislation would likely delay the process. The Trump Administration may still attempt to withdraw from the existing NAFTA as a tactic to force Congress to pass USMCA. It remains unclear how House Democrats or Senate Republicans would react to such a threat. The role of the business community will be key. The White House would look to U.S. business, including agribusiness, to generate bipartisan support for the agreement.

Impact on Future U.S. FTAs: U.S.-Japan, U.S.-EU, U.S.-UK

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) notified Congress on October 16 of its intention to begin negotiations for trade agreements with Japan, the EU, and the UK. The earliest that formal negotiations for the Japan and EU agreements could start is January 14, while negotiations with the UK would have to wait until after Brexit on March 29. USTR’s negotiating objectives for these agreements could be published in December or later.

For the new Congress, the Republican majority in the Senate and Democratic majority in the House will have differing sets of concerns for the new negotiations. Senate Republicans will seek many of the outcomes they sought in the NAFTA renegotiation. The Democratic House leadership is likely to call for new measures on labor and the environment, intellectual property, and/or dispute settlement. Some of these, such as opposition to investor-state dispute statement, would resonate with USTR Lighthizer and the White House, though it’s not clear how far the administration would move in the Democrats’ direction on labor or environmental issues. Consideration of the USMCA will be an early test on issues of concern to Democrats that will have implications for other agreements.

USTR is seeking short-term delivery of less controversial outcomes on regulatory alignment and other limited market access issues (such as an enlarged quota for high-quality beef and sales of U.S. soybeans) as part of an early harvest for negotiations with the EU, while with Japan the immediate priorities appear to be focused on market access for autos and agriculture.  Such priorities are not likely to require Congressional ratification and so will be less affected by the changes in Congress.

Impact on Section 301 tariffs

President Trump is expected to meet with President Xi at the G20 Summit in Argentina on November 30- December 1. While the White House has downplayed expectations for the meeting, others see the possibility of beginning a meaningful U.S.-China dialogue and perhaps moderating or delaying additional tariff actions. If no accommodation or way forward is reached, the U.S. has indicated it will increase existing tariffs on certain goods from 10 percent to 25 percent in January, with some reports that the U.S. could also impose new tariffs on nearly all remaining Chinese imports. China would likely respond in kind to any new tariffs.

The new Congress is not likely to change the direction of the U.S. economic relationship with China, although the plight of U.S. farmers facing their worst economic year in a long time might have some effect in pushing individual Members of Congress to seek a moderate course. We expect Republicans in the Senate will continue to have concerns on the impacts of China’s retaliation on the broader economy, but still be reluctant to contradict the administration’s approach. The Democratic-controlled House may be more enthusiastic in supporting tariffs overall and could give the Trump Administration cover to take a harder line if circumstances warrant, although may push back where there are specific constituent impacts. In fact, if the Trump Administration reaches a deal with China at the end of November (or anytime afterward), incoming House Democrats could use their newfound leverage to criticize the administration’s efforts and seek to outflank the administration on China issues. China policy is certain to figure in both parties’ presidential election campaigns as the 2020 presidential election begins to take shape during 2019.

While the current approach broadly to China is likely to continue, there may be enough bipartisan support for the new Congress to continue pushing the administration for a product-exclusion process for the 10 percent tranche of tariffs announced last September.

Impact on Section 232 tariffs

The Trump Administration has implemented tariffs on all imports of steel and aluminum, subject to certain country-specific exceptions. Negotiations for some country-specific exclusions could continue through 2019 (e.g., for Canada, Mexico, Japan, or the EU). In addition, the Trump Administration is considering implementation of tariffs on imports of autos and auto parts.

Changes to the control of Congress are not likely to affect the ongoing Section 232 tariffs related to steel and aluminum. House Democrats and Senate Republicans are likely to take positions on the Section 232 tariffs based on the economic impact for their district or state. Members from steel-heavy districts and states will continue to be supportive of the tariffs, while those from districts and states suffering from negative economic consequences because of retaliation or increased downstream costs are more likely to oppose.

Unless the Trump Administration imposes additional tariffs, we would not expect the new Congress to pass legislation designed to restrict the president’s Section 232 authority, as introduced by Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) in the Senate and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) in the House earlier this summer. That legislation did not have the votes to pass at the time, and the new Democratic majority in the House is not likely to increase the chances of passage.

In the area of the administration’s potential imposition Section 232 tariffs on autos and auto parts, the economic consequences of the tariffs and any resultant retaliation from other countries are likely to be broad. We would continue to expect a significant degree of bipartisan Congressional opposition to new Section 232 tariffs on autos.

Interaction between International Trade and Domestic Issues

Domestic factors are likely to dominate in shaping international trade and economic policy over the course of the new Congress and the remainder of President Trump’s term. Emerging issues, including renewed interest in comprehensive U.S. federal privacy legislation, could influence future U.S. trade-related rules (e.g., on cross-border data flows) as well as set policy models that other governments could replicate.

While the Trump Administration may be keen to pivot to international issues given its lack of a Congressional majority at home, its ability to negotiate and conclude agreements on multiple fronts could be complicated as it seeks to manage an increased array of investigations and oversight by the Congress. Add to this the inevitable turnover of Cabinet members and White House and Executive Branch staff changes that will occur after the mid-terms, and the administration may see a temporary hiatus in undertaking new policy initiatives, including on trade.

Furthermore, the upcoming presidential campaign could set the stage for an intra-party debate among Democrats on whether to take an even more hawkish approach on trade issues than the current administration; stay the current course; or return to a more centrist policy as was ultimately adopted by the Obama Administration while in office.

Last updated on 1/17/2019: India Retaliatory Tariffs on goods of US origin- effective date now 1/31/2019.

Unofficial spreadsheet with Final 301 list, partial list, and HTS’ removed added.

U.S. Trade Actions

Action Covered Products Rate Increase Effective Date
Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Steel – 25%
Aluminum – 10%
Status: Steel – all countries of origin except South Korea, Brazil, and Argentina (agreed to quotas); and Australia (exempted).

Aluminum – all countries of origin except Argentina (agreed to quota); and Australia (exempted).

Beginning August 13, steel articles covered by Section 232 from Turkey are subject to an ad valorem duty rate of 50%.

On October 24, South Africa was granted exemptions on 161 aluminum and 36 steel products by the Commerce Department.

Section 232 Autos and Automotive Parts TBD TBD
Status: For the latest status, please click here.
Section 301 For the final list of products in List 1, please click here.

For the final list of products in List 2, please click here.

For the final list of products in List 3, please click here.













Status: List 1 totaling $34 billion worth of imports is composed of 818 tariff lines, and went into effect on 7/6/2018.

List 2 totaling $16 billion worth of imports was originally composed of 284 proposed tariff lines identified by the interagency Section 301 Committee. 279 of the 284 lines went into effect on 8/23/2018.

For full details on List 2, please click here.

List 3 totaling approximately $200 billion of imports was originally composed of 6,031 tariff lines. 5,745 full and partial lines go into effect on 9/24/2018.

For full details on List 3, please click here.

Unofficial searchable and filterable spreadsheet with Current U.S. Section 301 Tariff Lists (Updated for Final List 3)

Retaliatory Actions


Canada For covered products, please click here. Table 1 – 25%
Table 2 – 10%
Table 3 – 10%
Status: The Canadian government received over 1,000 submissions of public feedback during public consultations on its original list.

Canada is imposing countermeasures against C$16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the U.S., representing the value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the U.S. tariffs.

EU For covered products, please click here. Annex I – 10% or 25%
Annex II – 10% – 50%
Annex I – 6/22/2018
Annex II – 3/23/2021 or 5th day after WTO Dispute Settlement Body rules against the U.S. action, whichever is first.
Status: For the latest status, please click here.
Mexico For the translated list of covered products, please click here. 7% – 25% (pages 1-4)


10% – 15% (page 5)



Status: Most retaliatory measures effective as of 6/5/2018. An “exception” list is effective on 7/5/2018.
China (Response to Section 232 Tariffs) For covered products, please click here. Annex I – 15% – 25% 4/3/2018
Status: See above.
China (Response to Section 301 Tariffs) For covered products in List 1, please click here.

(Unofficial Version)

25% 7/6/2018
For covered products in List 2, please click here.(Unofficial Version) 25% 8/23/2018
For covered products in List 3 (announced August 3), please click here.(Unofficial Version) Annex 1 and 2 – now 10%

Annex 3 – now 5%

Annex 4 – remains 5%

(Originally 1-3 were 25, 20, and 10 percent, respectively)

Status: List 1 is composed of 545 tariff lines, and goes into effect on 7/6/2018.

List 2 contains 333 tariff lines on U.S. goods worth $16 billion. Start date is 8/23/2018.

List 3 contains 5,207 tariff lines on U.S. worth $60 billion. Start date is 9/24/2018.

India For covered products, please click here. Up to $10.6 billion;
Annex I – 5% – 100%
Status: The U.S. declined India’s request for WTO consultations.
Japan For covered products, please click here. Up to $1.91 billion TBD – no earlier than March 23, 2021, or the 5th day following the date of a decision from the WTO DSB, whichever comes first.
Status: No update since May 18, 2018. Ambassador Lighthizer is holding trade talks with Economy Minister Motegi in July. Under Secretary McKinney is also leading a trade mission to Japan to discuss a possible bilateral trade deal.
Russia For covered products, please click here. Additional Tariffs of 25, 30, 35, or 40% 8/6/2018
Status: On August 6, 2018, Russia began imposing additional tariffs on selected U.S. products.
Turkey For covered products, please click here. Up to $1.78 billion;
Annex I – 5% – 40%Increased certain duties by 4 to 140%





Continue Reading Latest U.S. Trade Actions/Tariffs and Other Countries Retaliatory Measures – Updated January 17, 2019

On August 10, 2018, President Trump issued a new Proclamation Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States from Turkey. Steel articles covered by Section 232 from Turkey are now subject to an ad valorem duty rate of 50%.

On August 12, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) issued Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) #18-000477, which stated:

  • The increased duty rates began at 12:01 a.m. EDT on August 13, 2018.
  • In addition to reporting the regular Chapters 72 & 73 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) classification for the imported merchandise, importers shall report the following HTSUS classification for imported merchandise subject to the additional duty:
    • 9903.80.02 (50% ad valorem duty rate for products of iron and steel that are the product of Turkey).

The USTR announced on August 3rd that it will review Turkey’s eligibility for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program that grants duty-free access to the U.S. market. GSP is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. Concern over Turkey’s “compliance with the GSP market access criterion,” led the USTR to initiate the review. This also follows Turkey retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods in response to the Section 232 tariffs imposed by the U.S. in March. Earlier this year, Commerce submitted reports to President Trump stating U.S. importers’ reliance on foreign-made aluminum and steel posed a national security risk.

In 2017, the top categories of goods imported from Turkey under the program were vehicles and vehicle parts, jewelry and precious metals, and stone articles. The final decision on Turkey’s GSP status will be made after a public hearing and comment process.

Steel imports from Turkey have fallen significantly according to data from the U.S. International Trade Commission. Steel imports from Turkey were 1.3% of total U.S. steel imports from January to June of 2018 and dropped over 41% since June 2017. Following on the heels of the USTR’s announcement regarding Turkey’s GSP eligibility review, on August 10, 2018, President Trump threatened to double the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, to 50 percent and 20 percent, respectively claiming that the existing tariffs have less of an impact due to Turkey’s currency, the lira, depreciating against the U.S. dollar.

The White House issued the following statement:

“[T]he President has authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey. Section 232 tariffs are imposed on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security as defined in Section 232, independent of negotiations on trade or any other matter.”

For further information, please contact us.


On July 5, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hosted a teleconference to review Section 301 filings requirements, allow members of the trade community to seek clarifications and raise questions, and outline resources CBP has in place.

The first set of Section 301 tariff increases is effective on July 6, 2018.

This is the second round of tariff increases following the recent Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. CBP is highly interested in hearing from the trade community to ensure effective implementation of the new 301 tariffs. If a business or importer has specific questions or concerns, CBP encourages them to contact the agency at

CBP recommends monitoring the Federal Register and USTR website for the forthcoming exclusion process. This will be provided in a separate Federal Register Notice (FRN).

There is also a second list of 284 tariff lines covering approximately $16 billion of imports from China under consideration for implementation. These were identified by the interagency Section 301 group and are currently undergoing a public notice and comment process, including a public hearing.

On the call, CBP clarified that the 25% tariff is limited to goods with a country of origin (CoO) and NOT a country of export, of the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao).

Other highlights are included below:

  • Free Trade Zones (FTZ): Goods entering as privileged foreign (PF) before 12:01 AM on July 6 will not be subject to, or assessed, the new duties. The FRN specifies applicability to products admitted to FTZs on or after the effective date. The notice does not discuss PF status prior to the effective date. It was confirmed that the ACE system has been updated to reflect this.
  • Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS) Subheading 9903.88.10 should be active in system.
  • There are no quotas related to Section 301. The ACE quota module is not being used and is not tied to Section 301 products. Members of the trade community should not receive any quota messages unless the product is subject to an applicable quota, however, CBP does not believe that the over 800 HS codes subject to the 25% tariff are also subject to an applicable quota.
  • If Chapter 98 provisions are applied correctly from a compliance perspective, then the rates of duty imposed under Section 301 will not apply. Importers must follow the instructions and properly file claims for HTSUS Chapter 98 entries.
  • Importers must report if a product meets the requirements of Section 301 by using the correct HTSUS Subheading (i.e., 9903.88.10).
  • De Minimis: It was noted that if a product meets Section 301 requirements and is under the $800 threshold, the shipment should follow existing procedures.
  • CBP has indicated that they will, under a case-by-case review approach, grant leeway to members of the trade community experiencing some of the more complicated questions and/or complex technical matters raised on the call. CBP has asked parties to document questions, so that they can be responded to. For example, there are open FTZ questions, questions related to sets and kits where an import specialist may be able to assist and/or a ruling needs to be requested.

The CBP web page for Section 301 trade remedies against China may be found here.

CBP announced it is developing a Section 301 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) web page.




This week will see the implementation of previously announced tariff increases from the U.S., China, and Mexico.

Thursday, July 5 – Section 232 (Mexico)

Mexico will implement the second round of its retaliation for the U.S.’ increased tariffs on imports of certain steel and aluminum products with additional tariffs of 10-15% on pork and cheese products.

Friday, July 6 – Section 301 (U.S. and China)

The U.S. will impose another 25% in duties on 818 tariff lines (see Annex B) worth $34 billion from China on July 6. The additional tariffs are part of the U.S.’ response to China’s alleged unfair trade practices related to “the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property” pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

That same day, China has announced it will respond in kind by increasing duties on 545 tariff lines by the same amount. This action is also valued at $34 billion. Agricultural products, sport utility vehicles, and electric vehicles are among the goods targeted by China.

For all of the latest tariff news, please click here.





On June 29, 2018, Canada released its retaliatory tariff list in response to the U.S. Section 232 tariffs on imports of certain steel and aluminum products from Canada at the rates of 25% and 10%, respectively.

The list is broken out into three tables. Items in Table 1 will be subject to a 25 per cent surtax, while items in Tables 2 and 3 will be subject to a 10 per cent surtax.

Canada released an initial list for public consultation on May 31, 2018, and received over 1,000 submissions.

This final list is effective as of July 1, 2018. These countermeasures are against C$16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the U.S., representing the value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the U.S. tariffs.

The announcement states the countermeasures will not apply to U.S. goods that are in transit to Canada on the day on which these countermeasures come into force.

Country Covered Products Rate Increase Effective Date
Canada For covered products, please click here. Table 1 – 25%
Table 2 – 10%
Table 3 – 10%
Status: The Canadian government received over 1,000 submissions of public feedback during public consultations on its original list.

Canada is imposing countermeasures against C$16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the U.S., representing the value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the U.S. tariffs.

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce published in the Federal Register an extended commenting schedule in the Section 232 investigation on U.S. imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts.

Commerce is now extending that comment period by a week from the initial deadline.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments, data, analyses, or other information pertinent to the investigation by June 29, 2018. Rebuttals to any  comments are now due by July 13, 2018.

June 29, 2018 is also the deadline for requesting to appear at the public hearing and for submissions of a summary of expected testimony. The public hearing will continue to be held on July 19 and 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Commerce initiated the Section 232 national security investigation on U.S. imports of automobiles and auto parts on May 23, 2018. Similar to the earlier completed 232 investigations on steel and aluminum, the investigation will determine whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232. For details, please click here, and here.


On June 6, the European Commission (Commission) issued a press release stating, “The College of Commissioners endorsed today the decision to impose additional duties on the full list of US products notified to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as part of the EU’s response to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium products.”

The release went on to state, “Following today’s decision to apply additional duties to selected imports from the United States, the Commission expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with Member States before the end of June so that the new duties start applying in July.”

The Commission asserts the “rebalancing duties is fully in line with WTO rules, and corresponds to a list of products previously notified to the WTO. The WTO Safeguards Agreement allows for a rebalancing corresponding to the damage caused by the US measures with EU exports worth €6.4 billion (2017) being affected. The EU will therefore exercise its rights immediately on US products valued at up to €2.8 billion of trade. The remaining rebalancing on trade valued at €3.6 billion will take place at a later stage – in three years’ time or after a positive finding in WTO dispute settlement if that should come sooner.”

The retaliation tariffs (the rebalancing duties) may be found here. Those expected to begin in July are listed in Annex I (almost all at 25 percent). Annex II contains those to begin in three years, or after a positive finding in WTO dispute settlement. Those tariffs range from 10 to 50 percent.


On June 5, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a message providing instructions for importers who receive approval for a steel or aluminum product exclusion from the Department of Commerce (DOC).

The message states, “Upon receipt of the approved product exclusion from the DOC, for the importer of record listed in the approved exclusion, please provide that company’s name, address and importer of record number, and the associated product exclusion number, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at You must provide this information to CBP before the importer of record submits the exclusion number with entries to CBP.”

Further instructions on how to provide the information are included.

It adds, “Exclusions granted by DOC are retroactive on imports to the date the request for exclusion was posted for public comment at To request an administrative refund for previous imports of excluded products granted by DOC, importers may file a Post-Summary Correction (PSC) and provide the product exclusion number in the Importer Additional Declaration Field.”

The message also states if an “entry has already liquidated, importers may protest the liquidation.”