On July 17, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released a Federal Register notice 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 7.5 percent tariff on imports from China with an annual trade value of $300 billion (List/Tranche 4).   These product exclusions appear in two Federal Register notices:

  1. 85 Fed Reg 41658 (July 10, 2020) – see Trump and Trade Update of July 8, 2020.
  2. A “notice of product exclusions to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days.”

All of the exclusions in the listed Federal Register notices are set to expire on September 1, 2020.  The USTR 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 September 2019, 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 August 2018 as to the particular product or any other relevant industry developments.
  • The efforts, if any, importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since September 2019 to source the product from the United States or third countries.

The USTR 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.

The USTR is seeking public comments from interested parties on whether to extend any particular exclusion for up to 12 months. The period for comment runs from July 15, 2020 until August 14, 2020.  Comments must be submitted on the public docket on USTR’s web portal at https://comments.USTR.gov under Docket No. USTR-2020-0029 – “Request for Comments Concerning the Extension of Particular Exclusions Granted Under the $300 Billion Action Pursuant to Section 301: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation.”  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.