September at-a-glance … taxes, tariffs & trade

USTR focuses on steel industry; changes possible

With the price gap for U.S. steel widening and industry profits skyrocketing, Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative (USTR), was recently in Chicago touring the Block Steel Corp. service center and meeting with the United Steelworkers. “We hope this suggests that Section 232 tariff movement might be imminent,” said Christine Sohar Henter, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg.

Section 301 litigation could find tariffs illegal and drive refunds

In a recent filing, the U.S. government stipulated that it would refund all Section 301 tariffs paid by plaintiffs in pending litigation if they are found to be illegal. This means participants in the litigation will no longer need to submit their data to a to-be-created repository. It is unclear whether companies not involved in the lawsuit would also receive refunds. According to Christine Sohar Henter, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg, “This is a very positive development in the case as it significantly decreases the immediate burden on plaintiffs to provide Customs with periodic updates on their entries as litigation continues.”

In September 2020, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of four plaintiffs alleging that Lists 3 and 4A exceed the USTR authority under the Trade Act and violate the Administrative Procedure Act. Since that time, the Court of International Trade has received more than 3,800 follow-on challenges involving more than 6,500 plaintiffs.