USTR Invites Public Comments on Whether to Reinstate Certain Expired Section 301 Product Exclusions

October 2021

BY

Damon V. PikePrincipal, Customs & International Trade Services

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released a notice that is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on October 8, 2021 inviting public comments on whether certain previously extended product exclusions from U.S. Section 301 tariff measures on Chinese goods should be reinstated. 
 
In its review, USTR will consider the following:
  • Whether the products are still available only from China or if a comparable product is now available from the U.S. or third countries;
  • Any changes that have occurred in the global supply chain since the imposition of the 2018 Section 301 tariff measures for the subject products or any other relevant industry developments;
  • The efforts of U.S. importers and purchasers of these goods to source them from other countries; and
  • The domestic capacity to produce them in the U.S.
 
USTR also will consider whether reinstating the exclusion or not doing so will impact or result in severe economic harm to U.S. interests, including the impact on small businesses, employment, manufacturing output and critical supply chains. Notably, USTR will look at the overall impact of the exclusions on the goal of obtaining the elimination of China’s acts, policies and practices covered in the Section 301 investigation. Finally, USTR signaled that it will seek advice from the agencies that make up the interagency Section 301 Committee, including the Small Business Administration.
 
Exclusions reinstated under this review would be retroactive for merchandise entered on or after October 12, 2021.
 
The list of 549 product exclusions covered by this process can be found on the USTR website. Interested parties can submit comments in favor of or opposing reinstatement by registering on the portal. Comments may be submitted during the 50-day period following the opening of the public docket on October 12, 2021 until the close of the comment period on December 1, 2021.
 
Even if the product exclusions are renewed, the reinstated exclusions will not cover merchandise imported during the “gap” period between the date of expiration through October 11, 2021. BDO has developed a refund process to assist importers in obtaining refunds in lieu of litigation. Please contact us to discuss the administrative options available.
 

How BDO can help

BDO can assist importers with the preparation and filing of comments with USTR and, should the exclusion be reinstated or for other reasons, file administrative protests for the refund of duties. BDO can also review the tariff classifications for products to determine if a previous tariff exclusion was available and if any refunds can still be claimed based on the entry date of the merchandise.
 
Our services include: 
  • Tariff classification reviews
  • FTA qualification
  • Customs valuation and transfer pricing analysis
  • Import and export compliance assessments
  • Supply chain planning
  • Customs rulings, protests and other administrative filings
  • VAT registration