Section 301 Investigation

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is holding public hearings from August 20 to August 24, 2018, and on August 27, 2018, regarding the proposed tariffs on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese products.

Click here to view a schedule of witnesses. The public hearings are being held at the following times at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, DC:

  • Monday, August 20, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM EDT
  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM EDT
  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM EDT
  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM EDT
  • Friday, August 24, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM EDT
  • Monday, August 27, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

According to a USTR press release, the proposed tariffs are in response to China’s unfair trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, based on the findings in USTR’s investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

Tariffs on $34 billion in goods from China are currently in effect, and tariffs on an additional $16 billion will take effect on August 23, 2018.

The Federal Register notice publishing the proposed tariff list and soliciting public comment can be viewed here.

 

 

On August 16, 2018, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register the formal notice for the China Section 301 tariffs beginning on August 23.

The USTR published the final list of 279 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings known collectively as ‘List 2’ on August 7, 2018. These tariff lines will see an additional ad valorem duty of 25% on products from China and is worth $16 billion.

Unlike the notice implementing List 1 from June 20, 2018, the USTR:

  • Added to Annex A of this notice clarifications on the application of the additional duties to goods entered under certain provisions of Chapter 98 and 99 of the HTSUS;
  • In Annex C to this notice, modifies the HTSUS note in Annex A to the June 20 notice in order to reflect these clarifications; and
  • Annex C makes a conforming amendment to the HTSUS heading in Annex A to the June 20 notice, and makes a technical correction to the HTSUS note in Annex A to the June 20 notice.

The tariff subheadings in Annex A and B are the same. The latter list includes unofficial descriptions of the types of products covered in each subheading.

Regarding product exclusions, the notice states, “…the Trade Representative has determined that USTR will establish a process by which U.S. stakeholders may request that particular products classified within an HTSUS subheading listed in Annex A be excluded from these additional duties. The process will be comparable to the exclusion process established in connection with the initial, $34 billion trade action. USTR will publish a separate notice describing the product exclusion process, including the procedures for submitting exclusion requests, and an opportunity for interested persons to submit oppositions to a request.”

Check here for the latest developments on all the on-going trade actions.

 

NOTE – this post was updated on 9/19/2018 to reflect the change in retaliation duties on affected U.S. goods.

In a press release issued on August 1, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer announced the President directed him to consider increasing the proposed level of the additional duty on the latest Section 301 List (List 3 worth $200 billion) from 10% to 25%.

On August 3, China responded in kind and threatened to increase retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods should President Trump move forward with new tariffs on imports from China.

In addition to USTR’s proposed action on List 3, the second U.S. Section 301 List (worth $16 billion) just finished a public comment process. The White House has not announced its decision on List 2 as of yet. For an overview of the current U.S. Section 301 tariff status, please click here.

On 9/19/2018, China announced the rates would be 5 or 10%, instead of 5, 10, 20, or 25%.

Please click here for an unofficial version of the HTS Subheadings for Annex 1 (10% instead of 25%).

Please click here for an unofficial version of the HTS Subheadings for Annex 2 (10% instead of 20%).

Please click here for an unofficial version of the HTS Subheadings for Annex 3 ( 5% instead of 10%).

Please click here for an unofficial version of the HTS Subheadings for Annex 4 remain set at 5%.

 

 

 

 

President Trump has directed the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to consider increasing the proposed tariffs under Section 301 from 10% to 25% for the entire $200 billion list (also known as “List 3”). Because of this, the USTR has extended several of the dates in the public comment process.

The USTR circulated an e-mail on August 2 to parties that had submitted a request to appear in the upcoming Section 301 hearing for the “List 3” products. In it, the USTR clarified information provided in a press release on August 1.

To summarize:

  • The due date for filing requests to appear and a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing and for filing pre-hearing submissions is extended from July 27 to August 13, 2018.
  • The due date for submission of written comments is extended from August 17 to September 5, 2018.
  • The due date for submission of post-hearing rebuttal comments is also extended from August 30 to September 5, 2018.
  • The scheduled start date of the Section 301 hearing (August 20) has not changed.
    • The Section 301 Committee may extend the length of the hearing depending on the number of additional interested persons who request to appear. As of now, the hearing is scheduled to take place from August 20 to August 23.
    • The USTR will provide the full hearing schedule the day before the hearing, per USTR policy.

 

 

 

 

On July 24-25, 2018, the Office of the United State Trade Representative (USTR) held public hearings regarding proposed tariffs on approximately $16 billion of Chinese products.

Rebuttal comments are due on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

The list identifying these products (also known as “List 2”) was released last month and represents 284 new tariff lines identified by the interagency Section 301 Committee as “benefiting from Chinese industrial policies, including the “Made in China 2025” industrial policy.”

Section 301 For covered products in List 1, please click here. 25% 7/6/2018
For covered products in List 2, please click here. TBD TBD
For covered products in List 3, please click here and see Annex 10% TBD
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 is composed of 284 proposed tariff lines identified by the interagency Section 301 Committee. This was the subject of the hearings.

List 3 includes a list of tariff lines of products from China with an annual trade value totaling approximately $200 billion. These are also subject to a public review process.

The Committee heard testimony from over 80 witnesses on whether to include certain tariff lines in List 2. The witnesses represented trade organization and corporations of all sizes. The USTR intends to publish a transcript of the hearing, but did not provide a date.

Most of the witnesses requested that the Committee remove specific tariff lines from the list. The most common justifications were as follows:

  • The United States has a trade surplus in a particular good, and the 301 duties would harm that industry;
  • The increased duties would:
    • lead directly to the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs;
    • lead directly to an increase in the price of goods to the U.S. consumer; and
    • would have no effect on China’s intellectual property practices;
  • The goods targeted on List 2:
    • are only available from China; and
    • are not relevant to the “Made in China 2025” program.

Witnesses who supported the Section 301 duties asserted that they were necessary to protect U.S. manufacturing concerns and that sufficient capacity existed in the United States to manufacture the listed products.

The Committee asked questions of the witnesses when their testimony was complete. The questions fell into several broad categories:

  • Would the Section 301 duties affect the cost and availability of medical devices?
  • Why isn’t current U.S. manufacturing capacity available to meet U.S. demand?
  • Are the listed goods available from non-Chinese foreign suppliers?
  • How long would it take to increase production in the U.S., or to requalify a new non-Chinese supplier?

 

When preparing rebuttal comments, the Committee’s questions to the witnesses should be considered.

On July 10, 2018, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer announced that at President Trump’s request, USTR has initiated the process of imposing an additional 10 percent ad valorem duty on approximately $200 billion worth of imports from China.

The USTR statement included a link to an advance copy of the Federal Register Notice with the list of proposed tariffs and the process for the public notice and comment period.

This is the formal publication in the Federal Register of this notice.

For more information on the proposed tariffs and the process for the public notice and comment period, please see our previous article.

 

 

On July 11, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) opened the docket for China 301 Product Exclusion Requests on regulations.gov. The Docket ID is USTR-2018-0025.

The docket includes USTR’s ‘China 301 Product Exclusion Form’.

In its July 11 Federal Register Notice describing the procedures to use for product exclusion requests, USTR states, “To assist in review of requests for exclusion, USTR has prepared a request form that will be posted on the USTR website under ‘‘Enforcement/Section 301 investigations’’ and on the www.regulations.gov docket in the ‘‘supporting documents’’ section. USTR strongly encourages interested persons to use the form to submit requests.”

The Section 301 exclusion form is more simplified than the earlier Section 232 exclusion form. Interested parties can still submit supporting documents in addition to the form, and there is no page limit to the submission

As a reminder, this product exclusion request process only applies to those goods subject to the ad valorem duty of 25 percent on products from China classified in the 818 subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) set out in Annex A of the June 20, 2018, Federal Register Notice. Note that Annex B to the notice contains the same list of tariff subheadings, with unofficial descriptions of the types of products covered in each subheading.

For more information on key dates and submission guidelines for China Section 301 Product Exclusion Requests, please click here for Crowell’s post discussing the specifics of the notice.

 

 

 

On July 10, 2018, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer announced that at President Trump’s request, USTR has initiated the process of imposing an additional 10 percent ad valorem duty on approximately $200 billion worth of imports from China including apparel, textiles, chemicals, and agricultural & aquacultural goods.

The USTR statement includes a link to an advance copy of the Federal Register Notice with the list of proposed tariffs and the process for the public notice and comment period. The notice will be published in the Federal Register later this week.

This is the third round of additional tariffs proposed by the Trump administration as a result of its Section 301 investigation into China’s alleged unfair trade practices related to “the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.”

The notice indicated the USTR will maintain the first round of tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods implemented on July 6, and will continue with a second round of proposed tariffs on $16 billion worth of goods. This second list is currently under review in a public notice and comment process, with a public hearing scheduled for July 24, 2018.

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings of the products subject to the proposed tariffs is listed in the Annex (pages 11-205) to the notice.

The notice also included a list of key dates for a public notice, comment, and hearing process:

  • July 27, 2018: Due date for filing requests to appear and a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing, and for filing pre-hearing submissions.
  • August 17, 2018: Due date for submission of written comments.
  • August 20-23, 2018: The Section 301 Committee will convene a public hearing in the main hearing room of the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436 beginning at 9:30 am.
  • August 30, 2018: Due date for submission of post-hearing rebuttal comments.

 

 

Section 301 For covered products in List 1, please click here. 25% 7/6/2018
For covered products in List 2, please click here. TBD TBD
For covered products in List 3, please click here and see Annex 10% TBD
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 is composed of 284 proposed tariff lines identified by the interagency Section 301 Committee. These are in a public review process.

 

List 3 includes a list of tariff lines of products from China with an annual trade value totaling approximately $200 billion. These are also subject to a public review process.

On July 11, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice in the Federal Register explaining the procedures and criteria related to requests for product exclusions from the additional tariffs placed on goods from China on July 6.

USTR must receive requests to exclude a particular product by October 9, 2018. Per the notice, a docket will be opened on regulations.gov for the receipt of exclusion requests in docket number USTR–2018–0025.

Responses to a request for exclusion of a particular product are due 14 days after the request is posted.

Any replies to responses to an exclusion request are due 7 days after the close of the 14 day response period.

On July 6, 2018, USTR issued an intial press release with a link to an advance copy of this Federal Register Notice.

For more details regarding this important announcement, please click here for Crowell’s July 8 post discussing the specifics of the notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a notice published on June 20, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the imposition of an additional ad valorem duty of 25 percent on products from China classified in the 818 subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) set out in Annex A of the notice in response to China’s alleged acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation included. Note that Annex B to the notice contains the same list of tariff subheadings, with unofficial descriptions of the types of products covered in each subheading.

The additional duties on these products took effect on July 6, 2018.

The June 20 notice also announced that the USTR would establish a process by which U.S. stakeholders may request that particular products classified within a covered tariff subheading be excluded from the additional duties.

On July 6, 2018, USTR issued a press release with a link to the soon-to-be published Federal Register Notice which explains the procedures and criteria related to requests for product exclusions. A docket for the receipt of exclusion requests will be established on regulations.gov.

The notice will be published in the Federal Register sometime during the week of July 9, 2018.

A key piece of information for importers is that “[a]ny exclusion will be effective starting from the July 6, 2018 effective date of the additional duties, and extending for one year after the publication of the exclusion determination in the Federal Register. In other words, an exclusion, if granted, will apply retroactively to the July 6 date of the imposition of the additional duties. USTR will periodically announce decisions on pending requests.”

Key Dates

  • Interested parties will have 90 days to file a request for a product exclusion; and
  • The request period will end on October 9, 2018.

Rationale for Requested Product Exclusion

Each request should explain the following factors:

  • Whether the particular product is available only from China. In addressing this factor, requesters should address specifically whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries;
  • Whether the imposition of additional duties on the particular product would cause severe economic harm to the requester or other U.S. interests; and
  • Whether the particular product is strategically important or related to “Made in China 2025” or other Chinese industrial programs.

Process Timeline

  • Following public posting of a request on Regulations.gov, the public will have 14 days to comment on a certain product exclusion request; and
  • 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.

Highlights

The notice includes information on:

  • How to identify products in the exclusion request;
  • Submission Instructions – to include the submission of business confidential information; and
  • Document Format Instructions.

 

 

Check back here for the latest developments on all the on-going trade actions.