That title is a mouthful, pardon the expression, but it is a fact that the Office of the United States Trade Representative is accepting applications to reinstate exclusions to the Section 301 tariffs on China. Attentive readers will recall the agency established a procedure under which affected parties (such as importers) could seek removal of specific products from tariff coverage. Because the tariffs stayed in place while the initial exclusions expired, USTR established a second procedure whereby parties benefiting from an exclusion could seek its extension.
Alas, the extensions have all expired, while the Section 301 tariffs continue unabated. Apparently recognizing the adverse effect this can have on companies that had met the stringent requirements for exclusion and extension, USTR now seeks “comments on the possible reinstatement of particular exclusions.”.
Parties may present arguments in support of reinstatement, or in opposition. The points to cover are similar to those considered for the previous exclusion extension. They include information on whether the particular product is available from countries other than China, the effect of any changes in the global supply chain, and the availability of productive capacity in the United States.
It is encouraging that USTR seems amenable to reinstating previous extensions. My concern is the agency will take the position that importers that have lived with the additional tariffs until now have shown they can cope, obviating the need for another exclusion. Perhaps I’m a cynic, but I do expect USTR to apply an even stricter standard this time in evaluating claims that tariff relief is appropriate.
The docket for comments opened on October 12 and will close on December 1, 2021.
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