On July 20, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a Federal Register notice exempting Section 301 tariffs for imports from China appearing on List4A (products from China with an annual trade value of $300 billion). The exemptions cover 11 ten-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheadings and 53 specially prepared product descriptions, which altogether cover 242 separately-filed exclusions requests. These exclusions will apply from September 1, 2019, through September 1, 2020; however, the USTR has recently issued a separate notice seeking public comment on potentially extending these product exclusions for up to one additional year (see Trump and Trade Update of July 17, 2020). These exclusions apply to any product that satisfies the description in the annex of the Federal Register notice, regardless of whether the company using the exclusion filed the request. Each exclusion is governed by the scope of the HTS heading and the product description appearing in the annex of the exclusion notice; it is not governed by the description set out in any particular exclusion request.

The 11 excluded HTS subheadings are:

  • 0505.10.0055 –  Skins and other parts of birds, with their feathers or down, feathers and parts of feathers (whether or not with trimmed edges) and down, not further worked than cleaned, disinfected or treated for preservation; powder and waste of feathers or parts of feathers: Feathers of a kind used for stuffing; down; Down.
  • 5504.10.0000 – Artificial staple fibers, not carded, combed or otherwise processed for spinning: of viscose rayon.
  • 8215.99.3500 – Spoons, forks, ladles, skimmers, cake-servers, fish-knives, butter-knives, sugar tongs and similar kitchen or tableware; and base metal parts thereof:  Other: Spoons and ladles with stainless steel handles: Other.
  • 9506.70.4000 – Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table-tennis) or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; swimming pools and wading pools; parts and accessories thereof: Ice skates and roller skates, including skating boots with skates attached; parts and accessories thereof: ice skates with footwear permanently attached.
  • 9701.10.0000 – Paintings, drawings and pastels, executed entirely by hand, other than drawings of heading 4906 and other than hand-painted or hand-decorated manufactured articles; collages and similar decorative plaques; all the foregoing framed or not framed: Paintings, drawings and pastels.
  • 9702.00.0000 – Original engravings, prints and lithographs, framed or not framed.
  • 9703.00.0000 – Original sculptures and statuary, in any material.
  • 9705.00.0085 – Collections and collectors’ pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archeological, paleontological, ethnographic or numismatic interest: Numismatic (collector’s) coins, other than archaeological pieces: Other.
  • 9706.00.0020 – Antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years: Silverware.
  • 9706.00.0040 – Antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years: Furniture.
  • 9706.00.0060 – Antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years: Other.

The 53 specially prepared product descriptions include such items as: sodium alginate resins; certain boot hangers of plastic or steel; certain exterior doors with foam insulation; certain clamps and clips; certain women’s knit robes; certain baby sleep sacks and blankets; certain men’s and women’s cotton terry bathrobes;  certain blankets; certain crib sheets; certain oven mitts of cotton; certain handrails covers for spas and pools; certain outdoor shelters with canopies and a folding frame; certain athletic headgear; certain electrical snowblowers; certain cylindrical steel drives designed for controlling or adjusting color on printing machinery; certain electrical automated embroidery machines; certain steel parts of hand-operated gate valves; certain lithium-ion batteries; certain electric coffee makers for domestic purposes; certain headlight brackets for motorcycles; certain electric guitar kits; certain pre-charged pneumatic air rifles; certain modular diving boards; swim masks, snorkeling masks, snorkels and water fins; certain exercise machines of steel designed to train gluteal muscles; certain brushes of natural goat hair; certain gold coins or coins of other metal of collector’s interest of more than 250 years in age.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will soon issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation. The USTR will continue to issue determinations on pending requests on a periodic basis.