The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has issued a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on the extension of certain product exclusions it granted in March 2019 in the ongoing trade dispute with China. These exclusions were part of the first round of Section 301 tariffs placed on imports of Chinese goods with an annual trade value of approximately $34 billion (List/Tranche 1 products). These exclusions were granted in March 2019 (see Trump and Trade Update of March 21, 2019), and are scheduled to expire on March 25, 2020. The USTR is considering a possible extension of up to 12 months for these exclusions and seeks public comment on whether to extend particular ones.

USTR states that it will evaluate the possible extension of each exclusion on a case-by-case basis. The focus of the evaluation will be “whether, despite the first imposition of these additional duties in July 2018, the particular product remains available only from China.” These issues should be addressed in submitting any comments:

  • Whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries.
  • Any changes in the global supply chain since July 2018 as to the particular product, or any other relevant industry developments.
  • The efforts, if any, the importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since July 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries.

In addition, USTR notes that it will continue to consider whether the imposition of additional duties on the products covered by the exclusion will result in severe economic harm to the commenter or other U.S. interests.

USTR will accept comments between January 15 and February 15, 2020. All submissions must be made electronically via the www.regulations.gov portal on docket number USTR-2019-0024. USTR strongly recommends that those wishing to comment complete Exclusion Extension Comment: Form A, which will be posted on the public docket. Importers and purchasers may also submit Exclusion Extension Comment: Form B containing business confidential information via email to 301bcisubmissions@ustr.eop.gov, which will not be made available to the public. If filing a Form B, submitters, USTR notes, must also file a public Form A. These forms will be posted on USTR’s website by the time the docket opens.

At this time, USTR is considering the possible extension of product exclusions only for those exclusions granted in March 2019; no other extensions under any other product exclusion notices issued by USTR will be considered.