On August 6, 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 one 10-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheading and nine specially prepared product descriptions, which altogether cover 25 separately filed exclusions requests. These exclusions will apply from September 1, 2019, through September 1, 2020; however, the USTR has simultaneously issued a separate Federal Register notice seeking public comment on potentially extending these product exclusions for up to one additional year. 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 excluded HTS subheading is 8443.32.1050 – Printing machinery used for printing by means of plates, cylinders and other printing components of heading 8442; other printers, copying machines and facsimile machines, whether or not combined; parts and accessories thereof: 8443 Printing machinery used for printing by means of plates, cylinders and other printing components of heading 8442: Other, capable of connecting to an automatic data processing machine or to a network: Printer units: Thermal transfer.

The nine specially prepared product descriptions include certain doorway dust barrier kits; certain heads, plates, grip disks, slide clamps and other parts used in temporary dust barrier systems for interior construction; certain locking zip tie fasteners; certain decorative glassware; certain digital optical image scanners; certain slingshot apparatus; certain swing sets  and parts; and trap shooting launchers and parts.

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.

Regarding the notice seeking public comment on possibly extending these exclusions beyond September 1, 2020, the period of comment runs from August 5 to August 20, 2020. Comments must be submitted on the public docket on USTR’s web portal at https://comments.USTR.gov under Docket No. USTR-2020-0031 – Section 301 – China $34 Billion Trade Action (List 1). 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 upload supporting documents that can also be marked as public or BCI.