On October 12, 2022, the Office of the US Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced the next steps in their statutory four-year review of the Section 301 tariff program on imports from China. USTR announced these steps in response to requests for continuation it received from representatives of domestic US industries. Specifically, USTR is soliciting public comment concerning its July 6, 2018 action (List 1) and August 23, 2018 action (List 2).
Under Section 307(c) of the Trade Act of 1974, “following receipt of an appropriate request to continue an action taken under Section 301,” the US Trade Representative “must conduct a review of (A) the effectiveness in achieving the objectives of section 301 of (i) such action, and (ii) other actions that could be taken (including actions against other products or services), and (B) the effects of such actions on the United States economy, including consumers. See 19 USC. 2417(c)(3)(A) and (B).”1 USTR issued a formal notice requesting public comments on these areas of review, and interested parties can submit their comments through USTR’s electric portal (docket number USTR-2022-0014), which opened on November 15, 2022. Specific topics relating to the review include:
- The effectiveness of the actions in obtaining the elimination of China’s alleged acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
- The effectiveness of the actions in counteracting China’s alleged acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
- Other actions or modifications that would be more effective in obtaining the elimination of or in counteracting China’s alleged acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
- The effects of the actions on the US economy, including US consumers.
- The effects of the actions on domestic manufacturing, including in terms of capital investments, domestic capacity and production levels, industry concentrations, and profits.
- The effects of the actions on US technology, including in terms of US technological leadership and US technological development.
- The effects of the actions on US workers, including with respect to employment and wages.
- The effects of the actions on US small businesses.
- The effects of the actions on US supply chain resilience.
- The effects of the actions on the goals of US critical supply chains outlined in Executive Order 14017 and in subsequent reports and findings.
- Whether the actions have resulted in higher additional duties on inputs used for additional manufacturing in the United States than the additional duties on particular downstream product(s) or finished good(s) incorporating those inputs.2
To facilitate the comment process, on November 1, 2022, USTR released a questionnaire (“Questionnaire”) for interested parties to comment on these topics.3 Commenters responding to the Questionnaire can advocate for continuation, modification, or removal of the existing 301 tariffs. Interested parties can also use the Questionnaire to comment on some or all questions regarding the effectiveness of the Section 301 tariffs and other potential actions taken under Section 301 that could more be effective for achieving USTR’s goals at an (i) economy-wide, (ii) sector-wide, and/or (iii) on a Harmonized Tariff Schedule tariff-specific level.
Over the course of the review, USTR will assess whether it should provide additional opportunities for public comment, either through written comments or public hearings. If USTR does decide to solicit additional comments, it will be announced in a subsequent federal notice.
Interested parties should submit their comments no later than January 17, 2023.