On October 24, 2019, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) will publish in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. USTR 2019-0005] (which had been posted on October 21 on its website as an advance copy) establishing procedures by which US stakeholders may request an exclusion from Tranche (List) 4 additional tariffs on certain products of China with an annual aggregate trade value of approximately $300 billion. The notice announces that USTR will open an electronic portal (https://exclusions.USTR.gov) for submission of exclusion requests on October 31, 2019 for products covered by Annexes A and C of the August 20, 2019 action, and sets out the specific procedures for submitting requests. The original August 20 notice set the rate for additional duties at 10% on the goods of China specified in Annex A and Annex C of that notice. However, on August 30, 2019, at the direction of the President, USTR determined to modify the action being taken in the investigation by increasing the rate of the additional duty from 10 to 15 percent ad valorem. To submit an exclusion request, requesters must first register on the portal at https://exclusions.ustr.gov.

As explained in more detail in the notice, each request must specifically identify a particular product, and provide supporting data and the rationale for the requested exclusion. USTR will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the asserted rationale for the exclusion, whether the exclusion would undermine the objective of the Section 301 investigation, and whether the request defines the product with sufficient precision. Any exclusion will be effective for one year, starting from the September 1, 2019 effective date for Annex A of the August 20, 2019 Federal Register notice. USTR will periodically announce decisions on pending requests.

Fields on the exclusion request form marked with an asterisk (*) are required fields. Fields with a green (Public) notation will be publicly available. Fields with a gray (BCI) notation are for Business Confidential Information and the information entered will not be publicly available. Additionally, parties will be able to upload documents and indicate whether the documents are BCI or public. Requesters will be able to review the public version of their submission before the submission is posted.

In order to facilitate preparation of requests prior to the October 31 opening of the web portal, a facsimile of the exclusion request form to be used on the portal is attached as an annex to the USTR notice. Although the color-coding of public fields and BCI fields is not visible on facsimile, they will be apparent on the actual form used on the portal.

Interested persons seeking to exclude two or more products must submit a separate request for each product, i.e., one product per request. A single product may include two or more goods with similar product characteristics or attributes. By submitting an exclusion request, a response, or a reply, the submitter certifies that the information provided is complete and correct to the best of his or her knowledge.

The last day for submitting exclusion requests is January 31, 2020. Responses to individual exclusion requests are due 14 days after USTR posts the request on the online portal. Any replies to responses to an exclusion request are due the later of 7 days after the close of the 14-day response period, or 7 days after the posting of a response.