The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has issued a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on the possible extension of Section 301 tariff exclusions for certain products that it granted on July 9, 2019, in the ongoing trade dispute with China. These exclusions were in the sixth batch of exclusions granted as 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). These exclusions (see Trump and Trade Update of July 9, 2019) are scheduled to expire on July 9, 2020. This batch of exclusions included 110 specially prepared product descriptions, which covered 362 separate exclusion requests.  The USTR is considering a possible extension of up to 12 months for these exclusions and seeks public comment on whether to extend particular ones.

The 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.” These 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 as 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.
  • The 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.

Comments will be accepted between May 1 and June 1, 2020. Comments must be submitted on the public docket on USTR’s web portal at – be certain to scroll down to locate and submit the comments on Docket No. USTR-2020-0017 – “Section 301 – China $34 Billion Trade Action (List 1) Comments Concerning the Extension of Particular Exclusions Granted Under the July 2019 Product Exclusion Notice”.  New users will first have to create an account in order to submit comments.  For parties wishing to include Business Confidential Information (BCI), USTR notes that such information will not be publicly available when comments are posted on the docket.  Parties may also upload supporting documents which can also be marked as public or BCI.

The USTR is considering the possible extension of product exclusions only for those exclusions granted in July 2019; no other extensions under any other product exclusion notices issued by the USTR will be considered.