USTR releases product exclusion process for Chinese products subject to Section 301 tariffs

July 11, 2018

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has announced a process to obtain product exclusions from the additional tariffs in effect on certain products imported from China under the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property.

The public may request exclusion of a product from the additional duties to address situations that warrant excluding a particular product within a subheading, but not the tariff subheading as a whole.

A Federal Register notice outlining the criteria and process for a product exclusion request will be published, and public requests, responses, and replies will be received via Regulations.gov. In making its determination on each request, USTR may consider whether a product is available from a source outside of China, whether the additional duties would cause severe economic harm to the requestor or other U.S. interests, and whether the product is strategically important or related to Chinese industrial programs including “Made in China 2025”.
Exclusion process dates and notable information includes:

  • The public will have 90 days to file a request for a product exclusion; the request period ends October 9, 2018.
  •  Following public posting of the filed request on Regulations.gov, the public has 14 days to file responses to the request for product exclusion. After the close of the 14-day response period, interested persons will have an additional 7 days to reply to any responses received in support of or opposition to the request.
  • Exclusions will be effective for one year upon the publication of the exclusion determination in the Federal Register, and will apply retroactively to July 6, 2018.

Because exclusions will be made on a product basis, a particular exclusion will apply to all imports of the product, regardless of whether the importer filed a request. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will apply the tariff exclusions based on the product.

The tariff action on China is part of USTR’s Section 301 investigation and follows President Trump’s announcement in March that the United States would impose tariffs on Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China’s trade policies.

The text of the Federal Register notice can be viewed here. Formal publication of the Federal Register notice will occur the week of July 16.