The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking public comments on whether to continue exclusions from Section 301 duties for certain medical care imports from China needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. These exclusions are set to expire on September 30, 2021 (see Update of March 8, 2021). The USTR notice and request for public comment states: “In light of developments in the production capacity of the United States in the subject products and continuing efforts in the battle against COVID–19, USTR is requesting public comments on whether to extend particular exclusions past September 30, 2021.”
The 99 COVID-19 exclusions cover a variety of Chinese medical care products, including but not limited to: face shields; certain sterile drapes and covers; gloves; face masks; hot and cold packs; otoscopes; certain woven gauze sponges; certain non-woven fabrics; certain microscopes; certain dispensers and hand pumps for liquids; certain plastic aprons for personal protection; certain molded acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) tubes; certain adhesive polyethylene films, sheets and strips; and certain parts and components for X-ray and MRI equipment. These exclusions are available for any product meeting a description in the annexes accompanying USTR’s December 29, 2020 Federal Register notice. The scope of each exclusion is determined by the 10-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule subheadings and the product descriptions in Annexes A, B, C and D of the December 29 notice.
Written comments in support of or opposition to extending an exclusion beyond September 30, 2021 will be accepted through September 27, 2021, and must be submitted via the online portal at: https://comments.USTR.gov under the heading “Comments: Modifications to COVID-19 Exclusions.”