On June 22, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released two Federal Register notices seeking public comment on whether extensions for up to 12 months should be granted for particular products that have received exclusions in the China Section 301 process from the 25 percent tariff on imports from China with an annual trade value of $16 billion (List/Tranche 2). The first Federal Register notice seeks public comment on product exclusions granted in September 2019 that are scheduled to expire on September 20, 2020; these exclusions cover 89 specially prepared product descriptions. The second Federal Register notice seeks public comment on product exclusions granted in October 2019 that are scheduled to expire on October 2, 2020; these exclusions cover 111 specially prepared product descriptions. For details on the specially prepared product descriptions, see Trump and Trade Update of October 3, 2019.

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 August 2018, the particular product remains available only from China.” These issues should be addressed in any comments:

  • Whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries.
  • Whether there have been any changes in the global supply chain since August 2018 as to the particular product or any other relevant industry developments.
  • The efforts, if any, that importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since August 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries.
  • 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.

As with past extension requests, the USTR also requests certain financial data (where appropriate), including the value and quantity of the product covered by the exclusion purchased from China, from domestic sources and third-country sources in 2018 and 2019.

The USTR is seeking public comments from interested parties on whether to extend any particular exclusion for up to 12 months. The period for providing comments runs from July 1, 2020 until July 31, 2020. Comments must be submitted on the public docket on USTR’s web portal at https://comments.USTR.gov under Docket No. USTR-2020-0025 (for September 2019 product exclusions) and under Docket No. USTR-2020-0026 (for October 2019 product exclusions). New users will first have to create an account in order to submit comments. For parties wishing to include Business Confidential Information (BCI), the USTR notes that such information will not be publicly available when comments are posted on the docket. Parties may also upload supporting documents that can also be marked as public or BCI.