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USTR Denies Additional Section 301 Tariff Exclusion Requests

The Trump administration has denied more than 5,000 requests for exclusions from the additional tariffs it has imposed on imports from mainland China and has made over 1,000 approvals to date, according to information made available by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. 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 March 10,837 exclusion requests had been submitted for List 1 goods. USTR has denied 5,312 of these requests and granted 1,092 requests, including 87 granted on 25 March. The remainder of the List 1 requests are listed as being at one of four stages. None are still open for public comment, 1,134 are undergoing an initial review of whether the request should be granted based on specified criteria, and 3,299 are being reviewed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine whether the requested exclusion would be administrable. The requests listed on 22 March as being in stage 4, in which the exclusion had been granted and was being prepared for publication, were published in the Federal Register on 25 March.

USTR has also received 2,924 exclusion requests for List 2 goods. All were listed as undergoing initial review of whether the request should be granted based on specified criteria.

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