Section 301 Tariff Update - June 2022
Over the past couple months, multiple U.S. officials have suggested that the Biden administration may soon reevaluate, and possibly even rollback, the Special 301 tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. (Back in 2018 and 2019, the United States under President Trump began imposing additional tariffs on products imported from China, with the goal of forcing China to make changes to what the United States deemed as unfair trade practices.)
This week, the chatter has come from the White House, as President Biden looks at all possible avenues for combating rising inflation. Here are a few headlines you may want to peruse:
Scoop: Biden Leans Toward Easing Some of Trump's China Tariffs - Axios
Biden Weighs Tariff Rollback to Ease Inflation, Even a Little Bit - The New York Times
Business Lobby Presses Biden to Nix China Tariffs - The Hill
Obviously, no concrete plans have been made public yet, but we will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when possible.
In the meantime, two U.S. government agencies are currently accepting public comments on the impact of the Section 301 tariffs:
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is commencing a statutory four-year review of the Section 301 tariffs on imports from China. The review also begins a process of notifying representatives of domestic industries that benefit from the tariff actions of the possible termination of those actions and of the opportunity to request continuation.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is undertaking a new fact-finding investigation into the economic impact of the Section 301 tariffs as well as the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.
USTR Federal Register Notice | USITC Federal Register Notice | USTR Press Release | USITC Press Release | National Law Review Breakdown of Both Investigations
And now for the recent concrete actions:
On May 27th, USTR announced the further extension of Section 301 tariff exclusions for 81 medical care products needed to address the Covid-19 pandemic. The exclusions were previously scheduled to expire on May 31, 2022, and will now be extended for an additional six months, through November 30, 2022. More information is available in the Federal Register Notice. (However, the product list can be found in Annex B of a previous notice.)
On March 23rd, USTR published a Federal Register notice reinstating tariff exclusions for 352 categories of products covered by the Section 301 tariffs on products. The full list of covered products includes certain types of textiles, machinery, motors, electrical equipment, chemicals, plastics, and automotive parts, among other items. We covered this previously in Behind the Seams here.
The issue of tariffs is always a divisive topic among the textile, apparel, and sewn products industries. Sourcing Journal and Just Style have both provided good overviews of some of the differing opinions specifically on the Section 301 tariffs.
If anyone is interested in learning more about this topic or the debate surrounding it, please feel free to reach out to the SPESA team.
And for more information on tariffs, please read our monthly Trade & Policy Round-Up.