Short Deadline for Comments on Chinese Goods to be Hit With Higher Import Duties

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Trump administration has announced a list of approximately 1,300 goods from China on which an additional 25 percent import duty could be imposed. These tariffs are part of the U.S. response to a Section 301 investigation concluding that China is coercing U.S. companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to Chinese enterprises. Affected companies now have a limited time to submit comments on the list and prepare for the impact of the new tariffs.

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the additional tariffs are designed to target products that benefit from China’s industrial plans, including its “Made in China 2025” initiative, while minimizing the impact on the U.S. economy. The proposed list currently covers about $50 billion in Chinese goods in the following HTSUS headings.

29 – chemicals

30 – medicines

40 – some rubber, tires, and conveyor belts

72 – iron/non-alloy steel

73 – alloy steel

76 – aluminum

84 – machinery and mechanical appliances, including machinery used in manufacturing textiles and apparel

85 – electrical machinery, television image and sound recorders and reproducers

86 – railway/tramway

87 – motor vehicles

88 – planes and helicopters

89 – boats

90 – glass and microscopes

93 – guns

This list will now undergo further review. Interested parties may submit written comments by May 11, USTR will hold a public hearing May 15 in Washington, D.C., and post-hearing rebuttal comments are due by May 22. USTR is particularly interested in comments on (a) the specific products to be subject to increased duties, including whether the listed products should be retained or removed or whether products not currently on the list should be added; (b) the level of the increase, if any, in the rate of duty; and (c) the appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by additional duties.

After the completion of this process, USTR will issue a final determination on the products that will be subject to the additional duties. However, it remains unclear when those duties may take effect. Typically they would be expected to be imposed 30 days after a final list is published, but USTR can delay implementation by up to 180 days if the U.S. and China are making sufficient progress toward an agreement on the underlying issues.

It should also be noted that these tariffs are in addition to the 10 percent and 25 percent additional tariffs imposed March 23 on imported aluminum and steel products (some source countries are excepted but China is not among them). As a result, aluminum and steel imports from China would be subject to total additional tariffs of 35 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

For more information or assistance in reviewing your potential exposure or submitting comments, please contact Thomas G. Travis at (305) 894-1001,  Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or Kristen Smith at (202) 730-4965.

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