In response to Section 301 investigation findings that certain Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer laws and practices are unfair and harmful to U.S. companies, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) has recently proposed that a 25 percent tariff be imposed on a long list of Chinese products that are imported into the United States (the “Proposed Section 301 Tariff List”).  In developing the Proposed Section 301 Tariff List, which covers items classified under approximately 1,300 different Harmonized Tariff Schedule (“HTS”) lines that collectively amount to about $50 billion in U.S. imports, the USTR targeted products that benefit from Chinese industrial policies, including Made in China 2025, and pertain to such industries as aerospace, machinery, robotics, and information and communication technology.  The Proposed Section 301 Tariff List, which includes a wide variety of goods ranging from high value-added goods (e.g., medicines and medical equipment) to intermediate goods (e.g., machine tools and chemicals) to consumer goods (e.g., dishwashers, televisions and automobile parts) can be found here..

Shortly after the USTR released its Proposed Section 301 Tariff List, the Chinese Government stated that it would challenge the USTR’s planned Section 301 actions at the World Trade Organization (“WTO”).  In addition, the Chinese Government announced that, if the U.S. Government proceeded with implementing Section 301-related tariffs on Chinese products, it would impose tariffs on approximately 106 different kinds of U.S. goods that are imported into China and have an annual value of approximately $50 billion.  When making this announcement, the Chinese Government stated that, if such action became necessary, a tariff of 25 percent would be imposed on the U.S. goods, which would include, among other things, aircraft, passenger vehicles, beef, soybeans, and whiskey.

In response to the Chinese Government’s announcements, President Trump has recently directed the USTR “to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under Section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs.”  In any case, the USTR has stated it will consider public comments regarding the Proposed Section 301 Tariff List and will hold a public hearing on the matter on May 15 in Washington, DC (the “May 15 Hearing”).  The USTR is specifically interested in receiving comments on the following issues:

  1. the specific products that should be subject to increased tariffs, including whether products on the Proposed Section 301 Tariff List should be retained or removed (or ones should be added);
  2. the level of increase, if any, on the tariff rate on items on the Proposed Section 301 Tariff List; and
  3. the appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by the Section 301 Tariff.

Entities wishing to provide testimony at the May 15 Hearing must file a request to appear with the USTR on or by April 23; the request must include a summary of testimony and may be accompanied by a pre-hearing submission. Affirmative written comments must be filed with the USTR on or by May 11, and the deadline for submitting post-hearing rebuttal comments is May 22.

The FisherBroyles international trade team has extensive experience in representing and advising clients on tariff matters.  We can assist your company in reviewing your line of products to help mitigate the impact of the Proposed Section 301 Tariffs, as well as in preparing comments and/or providing testimony at the May 15 Hearing relating to the Proposed Section 301 Tariff List.  If you have any questions regarding the Proposed Section 301 Tariffs or would like to discuss possible strategies relating to them, please contact any of the FisherBroyles international trade attorneys listed below.

Geoffrey Goodale
Geoffrey Goodale
geoffrey.goodale@fisherbroyles.com
(202) 261-6644

Philip Gallas
Philip Gallas
philip.gallas@fisherbroyles.com
(816) 401-9622

Michael Cone
Michael Cone
michael.cone@fisherbroyles.com
(212) 655-5471

Chris Pey
Chris Pey
chris.pey@fisherbroyles.com
(646) 233-2533