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More Section 301 Tariff Exclusion Requests Denied as Reviews Move Ahead

The Trump administration has denied thousands more requests for exclusions from the additional tariffs it has imposed on imports from mainland China but has made no additional approvals, according to information made available by USTR. Most such requests remain at various stages of review but USTR is making progress in conducting those reviews.

Following a Section 301 determination that mainland China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory, the Trump administration has levied higher tariffs on mainland Chinese goods in stages. The first phase imposed a 25 percent additional tariff on US$34 billion worth of imports as of 6 July 2018 and product exclusion requests were due by 9 October 2018. The administration extended that tariff to another US$16 billion worth of goods as of 23 August 2018 and accepted product exclusion requests through 18 December 2018.

A ten percent additional tariff was imposed on so-called List 3 goods (valued at about US$200 billion) as of 24 September 2018 but a scheduled 2 March 2019 increase in this tariff to 25 percent has been indefinitely postponed. The White House has also warned of an as-yet-unspecified tariff hike on an additional US$267 billion worth of mainland Chinese goods if Beijing “takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries.”

Information recently updated by USTR indicates that as of 22 February nearly 11,000 exclusion requests had been submitted for List 1 goods. USTR has denied 4,535 of these requests (up from 1,730 previously) and granted 984 (no change). The remainder of the List 1 requests are listed as being at one of four stages. Only 12 are still open for public comment (down from 31), 2,075 are undergoing an initial review of whether the request should be granted based on specified criteria (down from 6,350) and 3,226 are being reviewed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine whether the requested exclusion would be administrable (up from 1,728). None are currently listed as being in stage 4, in which the exclusion has been granted and is being prepared for publication in the Federal Register.

USTR has also received 2,931 exclusion requests for List 2 goods (up from 2,799). Of these, only 23 are still open for public comment (down from 1,157) while 2,921 are undergoing substantive review (up from 1,640).

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