Background

Litigation challenging the Section 301 tariffs on List 3 and 4A goods from China is continuing to move forward with several recent developments. Importers of affected goods can still preserve their rights to possible refunds of these tariffs by joining this litigation. For more information, or assistance filing your claim, please contact attorneys Larry Ordet, Lenny Feldman, Rob DeCamp, or David Cohen at 301Litigation@strtrade.com.

For nearly three years the U.S. has assessed additional tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Nearly all previous exclusions from these tariffs have expired, and President Biden has indicated that the tariffs will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

Litigation currently before the Court of International Trade argues that the Section 301 tariffs on List 3 and List 4A goods (imports of which are collectively valued at more than $300 billion a year) were imposed in violation of the authority provided under the Trade Act of 1974 and the Administrative Procedures Act. On behalf of its clients, ST&R argues that Congress did not empower the executive branch to transform investigations targeting specific practices by a foreign country (e.g., the Chinese intellectual property policies and practices that underlie the Section 301 tariffs) into a vast, unlimited trade war. Our cases also assert that in promulgating List 3 and List 4A the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative failed to follow required statutory provisions, making those actions invalid under the APA.

If this litigation is successful, refunds of all Section 301 tariffs paid on List 3 and List 4A goods, regardless of whether an exclusion was previously available or filed, will potentially become available.

The CIT recently agreed to establish and proceed with a single test case, meaning the more than 3,700 other cases filed to date will be put on hold until the court reaches a decision in the test case. The CIT also appointed Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg as a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee, which will work with the court to adopt further case management procedures and present consolidated submissions.

In addition, plaintiffs recently filed a submission expressing “a strong interest in faster resolution” of the test case, noting that the daily payment of the Section 301 tariffs “inflicts ongoing and accruing harm … in terms of lost profits, customers, and market share, including to foreign competitors not subject to the tariffs; damage to consumer goodwill and innovation; permanent closure of facilities and layoffs; and the like.” However, the court has not yet established a schedule for further proceedings.

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