The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that it is seeking public comment on its consideration of extending certain product exclusions it granted in December 2018 in the ongoing trade dispute with China [update: USTR Federal Register notice of October 31, 2019]. These exclusions were part of the first round of Section 301 tariffs placed on imports of Chinese goods with an annual trade value of approximately $34 billion (List/Tranche 1 products). On December 28, 2018, USTR granted an initial set of exclusion requests (see Trump and Trade Update of January 2, 2019). These exclusions are currently set to expire on December 28, 2019.
USTR states that it will evaluate the possible extension of each exclusion on a case-by-case basis. The focus of the evaluation will be “whether, despite the first imposition of these additional duties in July 2018, the particular product remains available only from China.” The following issues should be addressed in submitting any comments:
- Whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries.
- Any changes in the global supply chain since July 2018 with respect to the particular product, or any other relevant industry developments.
- The efforts, if any, the importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since July 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries.
In addition, USTR notes that it will continue to consider whether the imposition of additional duties on the products covered by the exclusion will result in severe economic harm to the commenter or other U.S. interests.
USTR will accept comments between November 1 and November 30, 2019. All submissions must be made electronically via the www.regulations.gov portal on docket number USTR-2019-0019. USTR strongly recommends that those wishing to comment complete Exclusion Extension Comment: Form A which will be posted on the public docket. Importers and purchasers may also submit Exclusion Extension Comment: Form B containing business confidential information via email to email@example.com, which will not be made available to the public. If filing a Form B, USTR notes that submitters must also file a public Form A.
At this time, USTR is considering the possible extension of product exclusions only for those approximately 1,000 exclusions granted in December 2018; no other extensions under any other product exclusion notices issued by USTR will be considered.