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USTR Details Procedures to Request Exclusions from Tranche 3 Tariffs

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will make public on Monday the procedure for applying for an exclusion request in connection with the third tranche of the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports.

The office will set up an electronic portal through which requests can be submitted. The exclusions are connected to the 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports that were implemented on Sept. 24, 2018. The USTR had indicated subsequently on May 9 that it planned to establish the process whereby companies can apply for the exclusion of certain products.

According to the USTR notice that will be published Monday in the Federal Register, the electronic portal for applying for an exclusion will be open on June 30, 2019 at 12 p.m. ET.  The deadline for submitting exclusion requests has been set for Sept. 30, 2019.

Under the USTR plan, responses to “individual requests are due 14 days after the request is posted on the USTR’s online portal.” That 14-day period allows for commentary in support of or in opposition to the request. Furthermore, any replies to the USTR responses are due the “later of 7 days after the close of the 14-day response period, or 7 days after the posting of a response.”

The USTR is inviting “interested persons, including trade associations, to submit requests for exclusion from the additional duties under the September 2018 action.” It also indicated that each request “must specifically identify a particular product, and provide supporting data and the rationale for the requested exclusion.”

As for how it will decide which requests to grant, the USTR will “evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the asserted rationale for the exclusion, whether the exclusion would undermine the objective of the Section 301 investigation, and whether the request defines the product with sufficient precision.”

The practical effect for any requests that are granted is a refund on the additional tariffs paid from Sept. 24, 2018.