The Trump Administration Further Escalates Tariffs on Chinese Products

By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw PittmanNancy A. FischerSahar J. Hafeez and Jorge Vera

  • June 15, 2018 – U.S. proposes an additional 25 percent ad valorem duty on products from China (818 tariff categories) with an annual trade value of approximately $34 billion. The $34 billion action became effective on July 6, 2018. (See our previous blog here)
  • June 15, 2018 – U.S. also proposes an additional 25 percent ad valorem duty on products from China (284 tariff categories) with annual trade value of approximately $16 billion. The $16 billion action is undergoing public comment.
  • June 15, 2018 – China retaliates imposing an additional 25 percent tariff on U.S. goods with a value of $50 billion. Part of this action ($34 billion) became effective on July 6, 2018. The additional $16 billion will be effective on a date to be determined.
  • July 11, 2018 – U.S. proposes an additional 10 percent ad valorem duty on products of China with an annual trade value of $200 billion.

***

On July 11, 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) proposed an additional 10 percent ad valorem duty on products of China with an annual trade value of $200 billion.  President Trump directed this action in connection with the Section 301 investigation into China’s acts, policies and practices related to intellectual property (discussed here and here).

According to USTR, President Trump directed this action in response to China’s decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods following the initial round of 25% tariff increases on Chinese goods covering $50 billion in trade value, $16 billion of which is currently proposed (discussed here).  According to the USTR, “China has shown that it will not respond to action at a $50 billion level” and “supplemental action at a $200 billion level is in accord with the President’s direction.”

The proposed tariffs cover 6,031 tariff subheadings and a wide variety of products, including food, chemical, mineral, electrical products; fertilizers; photographic goods; plastic, rubber, leather, cork, and wood articles; paper and paperboard; textile articles; headgear; stone, ceramic and glass articles; base metals; various types of machinery and appliances; electrical equipment; vehicles; ships; clocks; and furniture.

USTR will finalize the list following a public notice and comment process, including a hearing.  USTR has requested comments on:

  • Whether tariff subheadings included in the list should be retained or removed, or whether subheadings not currently on the list should be added;
    • In comments advocating for the removal of products from the list, commentators address whether imposing increased duties on a particular product would: 1) be practicable or effective to obtain the elimination of China’s acts, policies, and practices identified by USTR to be in violation of Section 301 (discussed in our blog post here); and 2) cause disproportionate economic harm to U.S. interests, including small- or medium-sized businesses and consumers.
  • The level of the increase, if any, in the rate of duty;
  • The appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by additional duties.

The relevant dates for the proceedings are as follows:

  • July 27: Requests to appear and a summary of expected testimony
  • August 17: Written comments
  • August 20-23: Public Hearing
  • August 30: Post-hearing rebuttal comments

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