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USTR, Trade and List 4 – The Latest


Yesterday, the Federal Register notice was finally published, making official the Administration’s intent to move forward with 10% Section 301 duties on now two lists of remaining Chinese exports to the United States valued at an estimated $300 billion dollars.


This process was set in motion on August 1st when President Trump announced his intent to impose the additional duties beginning September 1st. This touched off a flurry of activity where businesses frantically scrambled to export goods in their supply chains in advance of the deadline while simultaneously lobbying the government to delay imposing extra duties on a host of consumer-level products in advance of the holiday shopping season.


On August 13th, the USTR clarified the President’s announcement. The agency announced the removal of certain products from the list, “…based on health, safety, national security and other factors…” In this same announcement, the agency indicated a bifurcation of this fourth list into two sections, a List 4A and List 4B.


List 4A applies to all goods entered or withdrawn on or after September 1, 2019. List 4B applies to all goods entered or withdrawn on or after December 15, 2019. The December 15 list includes, “… for example, cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.”


In this same announcement, the USTR stated in writing that an exclusion process would be available for products on these two lists and that process would be detailed at a later date.


Remember that the agency is currently accepting exclusion requests for list 3 which must be filed through the agency’s online portal. The deadline for submitting exclusion requests for List 3 is September 30, 2019.


Will List 4B’s intended December 15 imposition stick as it gets closer? Only time will tell. A number of factors will contribute to whether or not the administration moves forward between now and then including:

  • The results of the G7 meetings in France this weekend.
  • Any discussions which may resume between high-level US and Chinese delegations – these have been led on the US side by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and USTR Lighthizer.
  • Any potential outcomes of in-person meetings between Presidents Trump and Xi at the APEC Summit to be held in Santiago, Chile in mid-November.


US and China watchers cite the upcoming 2020 elections in the United States, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China this Octobe and the current situation in Hong Kong as wildcards that could influence the respective leaders wishes to make a deal – or not.


At RIM, we continue to work with our importers whose businesses are affected by these trade remedy situations, primarily in the areas of country of origin verification and bond sufficiency. We will continue to do this and companies with questions should contact us for more information.