The BOC Blast 246 – China Trade War Continues – Important Updates for Importers

China Trade War Continues – Important Updates for Importers

There are two important updates in the Section 301 investigation on China practices.


First, as many have probably heard, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office has issued a notice on a new proposed list of products that could be subject to an additional 10% duty.  This list includes over 6,000 HTS provisions, covering many items.  Specifically excluded are certain pharmaceutical products of Chapter 30 and apparel items of Chapters 61 and 62.


As with the prior proposed lists, the USTR’s office is allowing for a public comment period and public hearing.


Written comments must be submitted by August 17, 2018, with a post-hearing rebuttal comments by August 30, 2018.


The public hearing will be held in Washington, D.C. on August 20, 2018. Those interested in attending must submit requests to appear at the hearing by July 27, 2018. The request to appear must include a summary of testimony and may be accompanied by a pre-hearing submission.


As with the previous proposed lists, the USTR requests that that those seeking inclusion or exclusion that commenters of a specific HTS provision “address specifically whether imposing increased duties on a particular product would be practicable or effective to obtain the elimination of China’s acts, policies, and practices, and whether maintaining or imposing additional duties on a particular product would cause disproportionate economic harm to U.S. interests, including small- or medium-size businesses and consumers.”


The USTR notice including the list of HTS provisions can be accessed at the link below.   If you import from China, I highly recommend that you review this list as there are many HTS provisions included.


Second, the USTR’s office has issued instructions on requesting exclusions from the Section 301 25% duties that became effective on July 6.  These cover the HTS provisions that were included in the first 301 list.  Keep in mind that the second proposed list is still under review by the U.S. government.   The list published on July 10 is a third list of products.

Regarding the exclusion request process, requests must be filed by October 9, 2018.  Any exclusions granted will be retroactive to July 6.   The Federal Register notice includes the following requirements for submissions:


  • Identification of the particular product in terms of the physical characteristics (e.g., dimensions, material composition, or other characteristics) that distinguish it from other products within the covered 8- digit subheading. USTR will not consider requests that identify the product at issue in terms of the identity of the producer, importer, ultimate consumer, actual use or chief use, or trademarks or tradenames. USTR will not consider requests that identify the product using criteria that cannot be made available to the public.
  • The 10 digit subheading of the HTSUS most applicable to the particular product requested for exclusion.
  • Requestors also may submit information on the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to administer the exclusion.
  • Requestors must provide the annual quantity and value of the Chinese-origin product that the requestor purchased in each of the last three years. For trade association requestors, please provide such information based on your members’ data. If precise annual quantity and value information is not available, please provide an estimate and explain the basis for the estimation. With regard to the rationale for the requested exclusion, each request for exclusion should address the following factors:
  • Whether the particular product is available only from China. In addressing this factor, requestors should address specifically whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries.
  • Whether the imposition of additional duties on the particular product would cause severe economic harm to the requestor or other U.S. interests.
  • Whether the particular product is strategically important or related to ‘‘Made in China 2025’’ or other Chinese industrial programs


The Notice also states that the USTR office prefers requests to be submitted electronically.  It also provides the following instructions on submission:


To submit requests via, enter document ID number USTR–2018–0025–0001 on the home page and click ‘‘search.’’ The site will provide a search-results page listing the Federal Register Notice associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice and click on the link titled ‘‘comment now!’’. Once posted on the electronic docket, the exclusion request will be viewable in the ‘‘primary documents’’ section.


The Federal Register Notice, published today, can be accessed at the following:


If you have questions on either of these developments, please contact our office and we would be happy to discuss these further.


Paula M. Connelly, Esq.

Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly

100 Trade Center

Suite 660

Woburn, MA 01801


Customs Lawyer

Paula M. Connelly is a principal in the Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly, a law firm specializing in Customs and international trade matters. She has been practicing law since 1991 and prior to working as an attorney, worked as a licensed Customs broker for several customs brokerage companies in the Boston area. She has over 20 years experience in Customs and International Trade matters and works with numerous importers and exporters in addressing and resolving import and export compliance issues.

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