Tariffs increased on Chinese imports; additional tariffs forthcoming

On May 10, in response to unsuccessful trade negotiations with China, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) increased Section 301 import duties on $200 billion of China imports on List 3 from 10 percent to 25 percent. Three days later, the USTR began the process of imposing tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional approximately $300 billion in Chinese imports on a new List 4. Overall, tariffs of 10- to 25-percent will potentially impact nearly all Chinese imports.

In response, China announced that it will raise tariffs from 10 percent to as high as 25 percent on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods (largely agricultural items) on June 11. China has currently imposed 10 percent tariffs on $110 billion of U.S. goods2.

The full, 135-page List 4 of products subject to the new proposed tariffs is available here. Items on this list include smallwares; cast iron, steel and aluminum; tools, machinery and electronics. List 3 includes items like electronic circuit boards, computer chips and chemicals that may be used to manufacture commercial foodservice equipment and supplies.

The USTR announced a public comment period for List 4. The due date for filing a request to appear at a June 17 public hearing in Washington, D.C. is June 10; written comments can be submitted until June 17. List 4 tariffs could become effective soon after the comment period.

NAFEM members should review List 4 as quickly as possible and consider:

  • what product categories, i. e., HTSUS Subheadings or types of products on List 4, your company is most concerned with; and
  • why you are concerned, e.g., approximate cost/revenue effect on your business if 25% tariffs are imposed, supply-chain effects, disruption of business relations, etc.? (Please be aware that confidential business information can be submitted under seal to USTR.)
  • if your company wants to participate (present a statement) at the hearing; and
  • if your company will file comments.

NAFEM also will submit comments on behalf of the industry. If you wish to contribute to NAFEM’s comments, submit your input to Charlie Souhrada, +1.312.821.0212, by Thursday, May 30.

(NAFEM’s initial view of the HTSUS codes, with potential concerns [pp. 51-120] highlighted in yellow, is attached. You may choose to review this copy and add/delete items from it by sending your comments to NAFEM as directed above.)

The USTR also stated that it will begin an exclusion process for items on List 3, like those already in place for items on lists 1 and 2. Details are not yet available. Information on the current exclusion processes and items on lists 1 and 2 excluded from import tariffs is available here.

It also continues to be important that elected officials hear from NAFEM members impacted by these tariffs. To help members quickly share this information, NAFEM created an easy-to-use Advocacy Toolkit of talking points, email messages and social media posts for members to use in their outreach efforts.