May 20, 2019

China Imposes Retaliatory Tariffs On U.S. Steel Products

As FastmarketsAMM (subscription required) reported last Tuesday, the Chinese government has announced that it will impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on hundreds of products, including carbon and stainless steel imports, from the United States beginning in June.

Most steel products, including billet, hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil, hot-dipped galvanized flat steel, color-coated steel, hot-rolled bar and rod, structural steel and various types of stainless steel products, will face tariffs between 20 and 25 percent.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), in a separate notice, China’s State Council Customs Tariff Commission announced plans to conduct a test run of a “product exclusion” process for their retaliatory tariffs to aid exporters. According to the notice, interested parties (including companies and associations “in China” that are importing, producing or using affected goods) can apply to have those products excluded from Chinese tariffs at the 8-digit level. The notice implies that foreign enterprises operating in China (or suppliers for foreign companies) would be eligible.

While NAM said many questions remain to be answered, it advised:

  • Those applying should use “facts and data” to demonstrate the challenges of identifying alternate sources of imports, the “serious economic damage” that tariffs will cause for the applicant, and the “major negative structural impact” on relevant industries that could have social consequences.
  • Applicants can submit applications online through the Ministry of Finance’s Tariff Policy Research Center, with applications for exclusions under China’s Lists 1 and 2 (collectively $50 billion in U.S. exports) open from June 3 through July 5, and applications for exclusions under China’s List 3 open from September 2 through October 18.

NAM also noted that, if granted, exclusions will be valid for one year from the date the application is granted – and tariffs already imposed shall be refunded as long as the enterprise applies to Customs within six months. (For products already suspended from tariffs, those duties are not refundable.)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, meanwhile, has issued a request for comment and a notice of a public hearing for proposed tariffs of up to 25 percent on $300 billion worth of Chinese products. The USTR will accept written comments until June 17, 2019. The Section 301 Committee will convene a public hearing in the main hearing room of the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, D.C., beginning at 9:30 a.m. on June 17. The due date for filing requests to appear and a summary of expected testimony at the hearing is June 10, 2019.

Click here to read the official notice.