US Announces Agency Review of Section 301 and Section 232 Tariffs | Arent Fox Schiff

US government agencies have announced concurrent revisions to Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs, which may result in changes to current tariffs and product listings in the coming months. At the end of this report is a table outlining the periods and deadlines this spring and summer for submitting comments to the respective government agencies regarding these tariffs.

U.S. Trade Representative Review of Section 301 Tariffs

As detailed in our previous alert, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has initiated the first stage of a legally mandated review process to determine whether Section 301 tariffs should be maintained. The additional tariffs, which originally took effect in 2018, have now been in effect for 4 years, triggering a review to determine their effectiveness and impact on the US economy. On May 5, the USTR released an opinion announcing a two-phase comment period for interested parties to determine whether the rates should be maintained:

  • Phase 1: a period of 60 days for the parties having benefited from the tariffs to request their maintenance;
  • Phase 2: If at least one party requests that the tariffs remain in effect, the USTR will announce “in one or more subsequent notices” a second comment period for all interested parties to comment, including parties who object maintaining prices.

The Phase 1 comment period for List 1 and List 3 will open on May 7, 2022 and end on July 5, 2022. The Phase 1 comment period for List 2 and List 4A will open on June 24, 2022 and will end in August. 22, 2022.

International Trade Commission investigation of Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has also launched an investigation into the economic impact of Section 301 tariffs on imports from China and Section 232 tariffs on steel and iron. aluminum. In an opinion Released on May 10, the ITC announced its survey of U.S. trade, production, and prices in industries directly and most affected by active tariffs.

Interested parties, including companies that oppose the tariffs, have the opportunity to comment either by testifying at a hearing or by submitting written comments. The ITC has not yet announced whether the hearing will take place remotely or in person.

The ITC will report the results of its investigation to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The investigation could lead to tariff revisions, although it is not yet clear what authority the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have to unilaterally revise or eliminate tariffs, other than to pressure the President to let him do it.

Upcoming deadlines for participants

These USTR and ITC reviews could result in significant changes to the Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs. Importers and others affected by these tariffs are urged to consider filing written comments and /or to testify before the ITC.

As the comparative timeline of the two proceedings before the two agencies shows, the testimony and submission to the ITC will likely conclude before the USTR’s Phase 2 review. Substantive comments submitted to the USTR in “Phase 2” will therefore occur after the case is closed at the ITC.

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