On September 6, 2023, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that it will extend 352 reinstated exclusions and 77 COVID-related exclusions to duties imposed on goods from China pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The USTR imposed Section 301 duties in four tranches or “lists,” and it established a process by which importers could request exclusions for particular products on each list. The 352 reinstated exclusions, listed in an annex to a previous notice, cover products from all four lists. The 77 COVID-related exclusions, listed in an annex to another previous notice, cover medical-care products needed to address COVID. Both the reinstated exclusions and the COVID-related exclusions were previously set to expire on September 30, 2023 but are now extended until December 31, 2023.
The USTR’s announcement states that the goal of this most recent extension is “[t]o provide a transition period for the expiring exclusions and to allow for further consideration under the four-year review,” referring to the ongoing review mandated by Section 307(c)(3) of the Trade Act of 1974. The USTR initiated its four-year review of the Section 301 duties on May 5, 2022, and through this review it will assess the effectiveness of the duties and their effects on the United States economy. The USTR previously told Congress that it will complete its review this fall, but there is no statutory deadline for completion. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also stated in a September 5, 2023 interview that she does not expect any revisions to the Section 301 duties until the four-year review is complete.
The USTR’s extension of the reinstated and COVID-related exclusions comes one week after Secretary Raimondo visited China to meet with government officials. Her visit included a meeting with China’s Vice Premier He Lifeng at which China raised concerns about U.S. tariffs. Following the visit, the United States and China have agreed to establish regular communication channels on commercial issues, export controls and protecting trade secrets.
Husch Blackwell continues to monitor developments relating to Section 301 duties and exclusions. In the meantime, for guidance or questions relating to U.S. customs laws, companies can contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain team.