Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

USTR Announces Second Round of Tariff Exclusions

When USTR announced tariffs on imports from China on July 6, 2018, it also announced the procedures and deadlines for seeking exclusions from such duties. Late last month, USTR announced that it would grant exclusions from tariffs for a second set of Chinese imports (“List 2”).  The second round of exclusions cover about 87 separate exclusion requests.

All persons could submit requests for exclusion of a particular product, why the exclusion was sought, along with other information such as the quantity and value of the Chinese-origin product.  The USTR then weighed several factors in determining whether to grant the exclusions, including: whether the product was only available in China, whether severe economic harm would result from the duties, and whether the products are important to Chinese industry.

The tariff exclusions from List 2 included about 87 exclusion requests, spanning three ten-digit HTS categories and thirty other product categories.  The exclusions will be dated retroactively to the date when USTR announced the tariffs, July 6, 2018.  Fortunately, any importer can take advantage of the relevant exclusion even if it was not the one that applied to the exclusion.

A third set of tariffs was imposed for products (“List 3”) on September 24, 2018 and, originally, was not intended to have a process for requesting exclusions.  Congress passed a law to ensure that that USTR provided an opportunity to request an exclusion, and USTR was to have crafted an exclusion request process no later than March 17, 2019. To date, USTR has not provided an exclusion request process for tariffs on products on List 3, presumably because they are waiting on the outcome of the US-China trade talks.