March 23, 2020

U.S. Trade Representative Will Consider Section 301 Exemptions

According to Politico, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is considering whether to extend tariff waivers for some imported products that had been included in the Trump administration’s Section 301 investigation. In a notice posted on March 20, USTR said it would consider possible extensions for up to 12 months of some items that received exclusions in June 2019. That list of goods covered a range of items including water pumps, icemakers, antennas, and machines for testing the hardness of metals. Click here to read the notice and here to read the press release.

The press release stresses that submissions (and consideration of those submissions) would be limited to comments on products subject to the tariff actions and relevant to the medical response to the coronavirus – indicating that they do not intend to make modifications in line with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. USTR’s notice indicates that any such changes would likely be modifications to existing tariff lists, as opposed to exclusions. Public comments via the docket – which is already formally open for comments – would be taken until at least June 25, 2020, with USTR stating that that deadline could be extended as appropriate. Click here to submit comments.

The notice does not specify any particular form that must be used for submissions, though it does state USTR’s preference for comments to be submitted as an attachment, with all exhibits and letters combined into one document (versus simply notes in the comment box provided on regulations.gov).