September 25, 2018

United States, China Announce Another Round Of Retaliatory Tariffs

On Monday, Sept. 17, President Donald Trump formally announced his administration would implement tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products. The announcement came despite renewed hopes that the two countries would continue discussions to avoid an escalation in current trade tensions. The penalties went into effect on Monday, Sept. 24. A final list of the products affected, which include metals products, is available here.

The penalties will start out at 10 percent, but will rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2019. It is not yet clear whether there will be a process for requesting exclusions from this group of tariffs. The law firm Winston & Strawn has a deeper look at the announcement here. By the end of the week, the Chinese government reportedly had called off trade discussions between the two countries that were supposed to commence in Washington, D.C. this week.

In a statement, President Trump said if China retaliates for the Monday announcement, he will consider adding penalties to another $267 billion in products. That is just what the Chinese government did the next day, announcing five and 10 percent penalties on $60 billion in U.S. exports that also would take effect Sept. 24. The officials also filed a formal World Trade Organization complaint against the U.S. government’s Monday action. The metals products affected by the Chinese announcement include iron and steel (7201-7203, 7205-7212, 7214-7229, 7301-7326), copper (7402-7403, 7405-7413, 7415, 7418-7419), nickel (7501-7502, 7504-7508), aluminum (7601, 7603-7616), lead (7801, 7804 and 7806), zinc (7901, 7903-7905, 7907), tin (8001, 8003, 8007), other base metals (8101-8112), metal tools and cutlery (8201-8215), and other metal articles (8301-8311).

Also last week: the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published instructions for requesting exclusions from previously-announced tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese products. The process is as follows:

  • All requests must be received no later than Dec. 18, 2018. Responses and rebuttals to exclusion requests must be received no later than 14 days after that request is formally posted and any replies to responses/rebuttals must be received no later than seven days after those are published.
  • All exclusion requests must be submitted on regulations.gov.
  • Applicants must provide data showing the annual quantity/value of Chinese-origin products imported by the company or by an association’s members for each of the last three years. They also must provide the percentage of their total gross sales in 2017 that sales of the Chinese-origin product accounted for, the percentage of the total cost of producing the final product(s) for which the Chinese-origin input accounts, and the percentage of their total gross sales in 2017 for which sales of the final product(s) accounted when the request is made for imports used in the production of a final product (e.g. input or raw material).

If granted, exclusions will have a term of one year. For individuals and companies keeping track, Politicohas a list of all of the tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on all countries. The nonpartisan Tax Foundationalso is attempting to track every one of the trade announcements.