Section 301 Lawsuit FAQ

Here we answer some frequently asked questions about the Section 301 lawsuit filed, and propose some opportunities regarding protests and refunds on Section 301 duties paid on Lists 3 and List 4A for Chinese origin goods.

3/17/23 Update – CIT Denies Relief

On March 17, the Court of International Trade denied relief to the plaintiffs (in other words, the 301 duties stand). The opinion is accessible here. Surely, an appeal will be filed at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

What is the Section 301 lawsuit about?

It might be possible for U.S. importers to receive refunds of Section 301 duties paid on goods originating from China through by virtue of a lawsuit filed HMTX Industries LLC before the U.S. Court of International Trade. The complaint is 25 pages, but essentially it alleges that the proper procedures were not followed when List 3 and List 4A tariffs were imposed.

To possibly receive a refund of all of the duties paid for List 3 and List 4A, There are a few potential deadlines that might apply to filing a lawsuit to Section 301 tariffs. For List 3, the most conservative estimated Section 301 lawsuit deadline is September 18, 2020. It is also possible that the lawsuit deadline is as late as September 22, 2020, or even that there is a rolling deadline that would allow a successful plaintiff to recover duties for the 2 year period preceding the initiation of the lawsuit.

For List 4A, the deadline to file a Section 301 lawsuit would be August 30, 2021.

What are the chances of the lawsuit’s success?

Providing mathematical odds of success or failure is not possible. The case is not frivolous, but as of right now, it’s too soon to assess the merits of the case. In my opinion, there might be a jurisdictional hurdle the plaintiffs face before the court reaches the merits. But I won’t bore you with that.  All that can be said with certainty is that success is a possibility, however remote it may be. The Court of International Trade (CIT) has previously determined additional steel tariffs imposed against Turkey were unlawfully imposed, but that case has been appealed.

Whatever the decision of the CIT, you can be certain the losing party will appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). It may be years before we know the final outcome of the case.

What can be done to preserve a refund?

If an importer is wishing to preserve its right to a full refund of Section 301 List 3 or List 4A duties paid, they need to file a complaint within the time frames noted above (time is running out, or may have already run out by the time you read this!). We can help with this.

If an importer wants to receive a partial refund of Section 301 List 3 or List 4A duties, they may do so by filing protests on any and all entries on which they paid Section 301 duties. We can help with this.

How can I get in touch for more information?

Great Lakes Customs Law was established in 2010. We know the law, and we can help you. Contact us at our Michigan office at 734-855-4999 or call our Chicago office at 773-920-1840.