March 26, 2018

New Tariffs on China, Aluminum & Steel Duties, and GSP

New Tariffs on China, Aluminum & Steel Duties, and GSP

As most of you have likely already heard, President Trump has initiated an action against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 for violations of U.S. intellectual property rights by China. This follows a 7-month investigation by the Office of the US Trade Representative.

As a result, the U.S. will be imposing tariffs in the amount of approximately $60 million on products from China.

There is no confirmed date for imposition of the new tariffs, nor is there a published list of products. The government has indicated that a proposed list of products will be published for comment within 15 days. There will then be a 30-day public comment period.

It has been reported that the tariffs could affect 1,300 HTS tariff lines. Full statement by the President can be seen here:


Of course, this move may also result in retaliatory action by China on U.S. products, but this remains to be seen.

If you are currently importing from China, it would be prudent to consider possible alternatives in case the list includes company products. In addition, you may want to consider possible arguments as to why your product(s) should be excluded, presuming that they are on the list.

We will keep you apprised of developments in this area, including, notification that the list has been published and information on how to submit comments. This list will likely be published in the Federal Register.

On another note, the new duties for aluminum and steel products become effective, today, March 23. Such products from Canada and Mexico are excluded and it is believed that products from the EU, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea will also be exempt, according to Trade Representative Richard Lighthizer. Those importing products of aluminum and steel should expect to see increased examinations or inquires/Requests for Information from CBP to ensure that goods are being properly entered and that a company is not trying to evade the duties by misclassification or similar actions.

Finally, one bit of good news – Congress has passed the Omnibus Appropriations bill which includes reinstatement of the General System of Preferences program which expired last year. It will once again be reinstated retroactively back to January 1, 2018 when it expired.