News that the US Trade Representative (USTR) has begun to question whether or not the Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 should be continued beyond the four-year mark since its implementation dropped last week and caught everyone by surprise.
The announcement stated that “the first step in the four-year review process is notifying representatives of domestic industries which benefit from trade actions, as modified, of the possible termination of the actions, and of the opportunity for these representatives to request continuation of the actions.”
So between the dates of May 7, 2022, and July 5, 2022 (for the July 6, 2018 action) and between June 24, 2022 and August 22, 2022 (for the August 23, 2018 action), requests for continuation must be received within these 60-day windows prior to the university of the respective actions.
Importers and others affected by these tariffs are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to provide their views to the USTR, including the economic impact of these tariffs on their US business operations.
The notice also states that “If the actions continue as a result of one or more requests from representatives of domestic industries which benefit from the trade actions, USTR will proceed with the next phase of the review. The second phase of the review will be announced in one or more subsequent notices, and will provide opportunities for public comments from all interested parties.”
Importers should note – the USTR is starting with affected domestic companies first before moving on to other interested parties. This means that depending upon what the companies benefiting from these trade remedy duties say, the process may or may not move on to solicit feedback from importers who are paying these duties.
There was hope and speculation that when President Biden assumed office and inherited these ongoing tariffs, they would be reduced or the additional tariffs eliminated. As of now, the status quo has been maintained, reinstating only limited exclusions. Now that the 4-year review is coming up, however, the statutory requirements require a more extensive review.
Significant changes may be made to the Section 301 tariffs on a wide range of products from China. We encourage our importers to continue to follow our blog and if and when the opportunity presents itself to weigh in, we will announce the best ways to do so.