USTR Announces Next Steps in Four-Year Review of China Section 301 Tariffs

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a notice on October 12, 2022, announcing that an online portal will soon open allowing interested persons—including those adversely affected by the Section 301 tariffs—to submit comments on these tariffs and, e.g., why they should be removed. Previously, only parties in favor of continuing the China tariffs were allowed to submit comments to USTR.

Since 2018, the U.S. has imposed additional duties of up to 25% ad valorem on Chinese products under Section 301 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The tariffs were imposed in response to the U.S. investigation of China’s “unfair acts, policies, and practices” related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. The tariffs are set to expire after four years unless at least one representative of a domestic industry benefiting from the trade actions submits a request to USTR that the tariffs be continued. If USTR receives such a request, it is required to conduct a review of the effectiveness of that action in achieving the objectives of the Section 301 statute, as well as “the effect of such actions on the United States economy, including consumers.”

The List 1 and List 2 Section 301 tariffs implemented on July 6, 2018 and August 23, 2018, respectively, were subject to possible statutory termination on their four-year anniversary dates. Accordingly, USTR published a notice on May 5, 2022, notifying representatives of domestic industries benefitting from the trade actions of the possible termination unless a request for continuation followed. In response, USTR received hundreds of comments from domestic producers and trade associations requesting continuation of the actions. As a result, the List 1 and List 2 tariffs remain in effect and USTR is now conducting the required review.

As part of this review, USTR published the notice on October 12 announcing the launch of an online portal for all interested persons—including those opposed to continuation of the tariffs—to submit comments on the effectiveness of the Section 301 actions in achieving the objectives of the investigation, other actions that could be taken and the effects of such actions on the U.S. economy. The online portal will open at 12:01 a.m. EST on November 15, 2022, and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. EST on January 17, 2023. All comments must be submitted through this portal. 

Comments may address any aspect of the effectiveness and impact of the Section 301 tariffs, including:
  • Obtaining elimination of China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation;
  • Counteracting China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation;
  • Effects on the U.S. economy, including consumers;
  • Effects on domestic manufacturing, including investment, capacity, production and profits;
  • Effects on U.S. technology, including leadership and development;
  • Effects on U.S. workers, including employment and wages;
  • Effects on U.S. small businesses;
  • Effects on U.S. supply chain resilience;
  • Effects on the goals of U.S. critical supply chains; and
  • Whether the tariffs have resulted in higher duties for inputs (parts and components, etc.) used for manufacturing in the U.S. than the additional duties on downstream product(s) or finished good(s) incorporating those inputs.

USTR intends to publish and post on the portal a list of questions to be used in the docket by November 1, 2022.