On September 18, 2019, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) posted on its website advance copies of three Federal Register notices granting product exclusions from the Sec. 301 tariffs imposed on products of Chinese origin. USTR’s determination takes into account advice from advisory committees and any public comments on the pertinent exclusion requests. Subsequently, these documents were published in the September 20, 2019 Federal Register.

The first notice announces the USTR’s determination to grant additional exclusion requests from the $34 billion action (25% additional duties) imposed on July 6, 2018 (List 1 or first tranche) and covers 310 specially prepared product descriptions, which cover 724 separate exclusion requests, as specified in the Annex to the notice. In accordance with the July 11, 2019 notice (83 Fed. Reg. 32181) establishing the exclusion process, the exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the Annex, regardless of whether the importer filed an exclusion request. Further, the scope of each exclusion is governed by the scope of the product descriptions in the Annex, and not by the product descriptions set out in any particular request for exclusion. Paragraph A, subparagraphs (3) – (5) of the Annex adds a new subheading 9903.88.14 and US Note 20(q) and makes conforming amendments to other subheadings and US Notes of the HTSUS reflecting the modifications made by the Annex to the notice.

Paragraph B of the Annex corrects a typographical error relating to the value of “Dental x-ray alignment and positioning apparatus” in U.S. note 20(n)(105) to subchapter III of chapter 99 of the HTSUS, as set out in the Annex to the notice published at 84 Fed. Reg. 32821 (July 9, 2019). As stated in the July 11, 2019 notice, the exclusions will apply as of the July 6, 2018 effective date of the $34 billion action, and extend for one year after the publication of this notice. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation.

The second notice announces the USTR’s determination to grant additional exclusion requests from the $16 billion action imposed on August 23, 2019 (List 2 or second tranche) and covers 89 specially prepared product descriptions, which cover 400 separate exclusion requests as specified in the Annex to the notice. In accordance with the September 18, 2018 notice (83 Fed. Reg. 47236) establishing the exclusion process, the exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the Annex, regardless of whether the importer filed an exclusion request. Further, the scope of each exclusion is governed by the scope of the product descriptions in the Annex, and not by the product descriptions set out in any particular request for exclusion. Paragraph A of the Annex, subparagraphs (3)–(5) adds a new subheading 9903.88.17 and US Note 20(v) to the HTSUS and conforming amendments to other subheadings and US Notes in the HTSUS reflecting the modifications made by Annex A.

As stated in the September 18 notice, the exclusions will apply as of the August 23, 2018 effective date of the $16 billion action, and extend for one year after the publication of this notice. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation.

The third notice announces the USTR’s determination to grant additional exclusion requests from the $200 billion action (initially 10% but in May 2019 increased to 25% additional duties) imposed on September 24, 2018 (List 3 or third tranche) and covers 38 specially prepared product descriptions, which cover 46 separate exclusion requests, as specified in Annex A to the notice. Paragraph A, subparagraphs (3)–(5) of the Annex adds a new subheading 9903.88.18 and US Note 20(w) to the HTSUS and conforming amendments to other subheadings and US Notes in the HTSUS reflecting the modifications made by Annex A.

As specified in Annex B, the notice also makes technical amendments to the $200 billion action and to the $300 billion action announced in August 2019 (initially 10% as announced in 84 Fed. Reg. 43304, but later increased to 15% in 84 Fed. Reg. 45821). These amendments provide that the additional duties do not apply to entries under certain subheadings if the applied rate of duty for an entry is derived from another subheading, and if the entry for this reason already is subject to the additional duties.

New subheadings 9903.88.21 through 9903.88.28 and US Notes 20 (z) through 20 (gg) are added to the HTSUS.

The notice also amends the exclusion process by establishing August 7, 2020 as a uniform expiration date for all exclusions granted under the third tranche action The June 24 notice announced that the exclusions granted for the third tranche trade action would be effective starting from September 24, 2018, and extend for one year after the publication of the exclusion determination in the Federal Register. This policy, however, would have resulted in disparities in the effective periods between exclusions granted early in the exclusion process and those granted later. Accordingly, USTR is amending the exclusion process so as to adopt a uniform expiration date for exclusions granted for the $200 billion trade action, subject to special circumstances. In particular, all exclusions from the $200 billion action will be effective from September 24, 2018, to August 7, 2020. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regularly updates the status of each pending request and posts the status within the webpages for the respective tariff action to which they apply at https://ustr.gov/issueareas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/tariff-actions