February ’23 at-a-glance … taxes, tariffs & trade

NAFEM requests USTR halt Section 301 tariffs

Based on significant input from members, NAFEM requested that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) remove the Section 301 tariffs on imports from China during the agency’s recent statuary four-year review. If USTR does not do so, NAFEM also requested that three tariff headings be removed from Tranches 1, 2, 3 and 4A. These include:

  • Materials, parts and components used to manufacture commercial foodservice equipment and supplies domestically.
  • Equipment and tools used in the manufacturing process.
  • Finished commercial food service products.

“The Section 301 tariffs continue to add unnecessary cost and uncertainty to a U.S. manufacturing industry already under immense strain. Ultimately, the costs created by the tariffs must be offset through increased prices to food service operators and ultimately, consumers,” NAFEM said in its comments.

“Since they were introduced in 2018, NAFEM and its members have diligently worked to remove the section 301 tariffs,” said Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, NAFEM vice president regulatory and technical affairs. “The comments we submitted to USTR in late January made a compelling case to do so. We appreciate members making the time to provide important data and anecdotes that informed our comments on behalf of the industry.” NAFEM also contributed to comments calling for the eliminate of the Section 301 tariffs with the Americans for Free Trade (AFT), the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU) and the Tariff Reform Coalition (TRC).

U.S. appeals WTO Section 232 ruling to defunct WTO Appellate Body

The Biden administration will appeal a recent WTO ruling against the U.S. on the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. WTO said the tariffs do not qualify for the national security exception and violate WTO rules. Because the U.S. has blocked appointments to the WTO Appellate Body, there is no mechanism to review the appeal. This situation sends the WTO ruling into a legal void, meaning there will not be any further action by the WTO. However, those countries that brought cases to the WTO may choose to enact their own retaliatory tariffs. These include China, Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, India and Russia.