Section 301 Tariff Exclusions (China)

Section 301 Exclusions

(October 4, 2021 Update)

The current U.S. Trade Representative is expected to publicly announce a new Section 301 exclusion process that would allow companies to request that certain products be exempt from Section 301 China tariffs (explained below). Details will be made available here once an official announcement is made.

Section 301 Tariffs against China imports

Former President Trump initiated a series of Section 301 tariffs against numerous goods imported into the United States from China. These Section 301 “China Tariffs” resulted from an investigation started by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in August of 2017. The USTR issued a long report with its findings and recommendations on March 22, 2018. The report can be read here.

The tariffs were imposed in a series of four stages. Each stage was designed to add increased pressure against China in order to punish, or at least counter-act, unfair trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation by China.

The first stage involved goods with an estimated total annual trade value of $34 billion; the second stage was for goods valued at $16 billion; the third stage is for goods valued at $200 billion; the fourth stage was to encompass goods with an annual trade value of $300 billion.

The first, second, and third stage tariffs increased the duties on certain products by 25%. The products affected depends on their classification in certain “subheadings” of the tariff schedules.

A fourth stage was, after first proposed, split into List 4A and List 4B. List 4A currently has a 7.5% tariff rate effective February 14, 2020; list 4B was suspended until further notice, based on a “phase one” deal with China concerning tariffs.

The USTR maintains a helpful summary of the status of all Section 301 tariffs, their current status, and lists of subheadings affected HERE.

Section 301 Exclusion Renewals

The section 301 tariffs exclusion process for all stages are now closed, with the last opportunity being for List 4A which closed on January 31, 2020. Exclusions which have been granted occasionally come up for “renewal” or, in other words, the exclusions get further extended past their original expiration date.

Many exclusions have been granted, but less are renewed. When an exclusion is granted (or a granted exclusion is renewed), it is granted universally no matter who the producer or exporter of the product is.

Section 301 Covid-19 Exclusions

Even though the exclusion process is generally closed except for possible renewals, currently due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, the USTR is considering exempting certain products which could be helpful in responding to the pandemic. This opportunity is currently set to expire on June 25, 2020, and comments are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Warning: This information on this page is subject to our general disclaimer, and only current through Last updated: October 4, 2021 at 13:05 pm. For legal advice, please contact us for a consultation.

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