On November 1, 2022, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) published a questionnaire for interested parties to use in commenting on the effects of the tariffs imposed on Chinese imports under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301 Tariffs”). USTR issued the questionnaire pursuant to its October 17, 2022 notice initiating the second phase of its statutory four-year review of the Section 301 Tariffs. Questionnaire responses may address the tariffs’ impact on the whole economy, specific sectors and industries, or individual tariff headings. Responses may be submitted between November 15, 2022, and January 17, 2023. This process offers a new opportunity for companies to make a record with the Biden Administration regarding the future of the Section 301 actions, including as to specific product categories that should not be subject to duties if the tariffs remain in force.
The United States imposed the Section 301 Tariffs after determining in March 2018 that China’s technology transfer and intellectual property policies and practices harmed U.S. companies. Between July 2018 and September 2019, the United States applied four tranches of tariffs on over $360 billion in Chinese imports.
The administration is defending the List 3 and List 4A tariffs against legal challenges pending before the U.S. Court of International Trade. On April 1, 2022, the court remanded those lists to USTR for further explanation or reconsideration, and USTR filed its remand determination responding to significant comments on the List 3 and List 4A tariffs on August 1, 2022. The court is now evaluating the sufficiency of that remand determination.
Under the statute, Section 301 Tariffs expire after four years unless a representative of a domestic industry that benefited from the tariffs submits a written request for continuation. Accordingly, on May 3, 2022, USTR initiated its statutory four-year review of the Section 301 Tariffs in advance of their expiration beginning on July 6, 2022. (See our prior alert.) Prior to launching the statutorily mandated review, the Biden Administration’s principal action with respect to the Section 301 Tariffs was to reinstate a limited set of previously expired product exclusions. Those 352 reinstated exclusions are now set to expire on December 31, 2022.