The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking comments on requests to exclude products from the additional tariffs applied against products imported from China, according to a notice published today in the Federal Register.
These tariffs were applied based on an investigation carried out in early 2018 under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, which allows the U.S. government to take actions to eliminate unfair trade practices, understood as any “act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that is unreasonable or discriminatory and burdens or restricts the commerce of the United States.”
Under this investigation, the U.S. government concluded that China’s innovation policy and intellectual property rights aim at developing Chinese technology by means of the acquisition and transfer of foreign technology, which the USTR believes is harmful to American companies, as they may see their innovation being transferred to Chinese companies or otherwise face an unleveled playing field against Chinese companies. Based on these findings, certain imports from China had been subject to additional tariffs since mid-2018; recently, the US government announced it wound increase the list of products subject to this additional duty, reaching a total of 300 billion dollars in imports, a measure which escalated the already strong commercial tensions between the two countries.
The USTR is now accepting requests from US companies for the exclusion of certain products from this additional tariff, as well as comments and responses on other parties’ requests for exclusion. The USTR estimates that it will receive 60,000 requests to exclude products, 7,000 responses to a product exclusion request, and 3,000 reproductions to these responses. The deadline for submitting an exclusion request is September 30, and the deadline for submitting comments is October 22, 2019.