New Public-Comment Period Regarding Section 301 Tariffs Impacting Certain Medical-Care and COVID-19 Response Products

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As the country continues to experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has invited public comments on whether to continue excluding certain medical supplies from the special tariffs that were originally imposed on imports from China during the Trump administration. Those tariffs, which started in July 2018, followed an investigation conducted under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 of China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. The tariffs were imposed on nearly all US imports of Chinese goods, including high-demand medical supplies.

In total, there have been four rounds of tariffs, broadening the scope of affected products. With each round, USTR allowed companies to request exclusions for products that are not adequately available in the United States and granted several of these requests.

Although most of those exclusions have now lapsed, USTR has maintained dozens of product exclusions on medical-care and COVID-19 response products to meet medical needs. On August 27, 2021, USTR published a notice of opportunity to request that these exclusions be extended for up to six months past the current end date of September 30, 2021. Requests must be filed by September 27, 2021 and substantiate the grounds for extending the exclusion.

McDermott’s Trade Group has extensive experience with the Section 301 dispute and its tariff exclusion process, and can assist in filing requests and answering questions.