Higher tariffs and other measures on imported fine denier polyester staple fiber could result from a safeguard investigation the International Trade Commission has been petitioned to initiate.

Fine denier PSF is a manmade fiber similar in appearance to cotton or wool. It can be converted into yarn for knitting or weaving into textiles such as clothing and bedding linen. It can also be bonded through a chemical, mechanical, or heat process to produce products such as baby wipes, diapers, and coffee filters. It may also be used without conversion as a fill in pillows and similar applications.

The petition covers all polyester staple fiber that is not carded or combed and that measures less than 3.3 decitex (3 denier) in diameter, regardless of coating (e.g., silicon or oil), color, length, or material inputs (i.e., virgin raw materials or post-consumer recycled inputs). Covered PSF is currently classified under HTSUS 5503.20.0025.

Low-melt PSF (HTSUS 5503.20.0015) and PSF equal to or greater than 3.3 decitex (HTSUS 5503.20.0065) are excluded from the scope of the petition.

The petition was filed under section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act, which requires the ITC to determine whether an article is being imported in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause or threat of serious injury to a U.S. industry.

The ITC now has 120 days to make a decision, 150 if the investigation is deemed extraordinarily complicated. If the ITC’s determination is affirmative it will recommend relief to the president within 180 days after the petition is filed. Section 201 remedies may include tariff increases, quotas, tariff-rate quotas, trade adjustment assistance, or any combination thereof as well as any other action authorized under the law that is deemed likely to facilitate positive adjustment to import competition.

Any relief proposed by the ITC is merely advisory; it is up to the president to make the final decision on whether to provide relief as well as its form, amount, and duration. Relief may initially be imposed for up to four years and extended to no more than eight.

For more information on this petition, please contact Kristen Smith.

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