Background

The International Trade Commission has instituted an investigation that will identify imported goods related to the COVID-19 response and their source countries, tariff classifications, and applicable duty rates. The ITC’s report in this investigation is due by April 30.

(Click here for ST&R’s resource page on the trade impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and actions companies can take in response.)

For each identified product the ITC’s report will provide (1) the product’s 10-digit HTSUS number, legal description, and general duty rate, (2) any special or additional duty rates, the dates on which those rates were imposed, and the authorities under which they were imposed, (3) whether any such duties have been suspended and, if so, the date of suspension and how long it is scheduled to last, (4) the total rate of duty, including any special or additional duty, and (5) the major countries of origin and the import value of each such article from each country for the years 2017 through 2019.

The report was requested by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., who explained that “the challenges presented by the novel coronavirus … are being severely exacerbated by disruptions and deficiencies in our supply of equipment, inputs, and substances needed for treating and otherwise responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is currently considering provisional modifications to tariffs on such goods, and the two lawmakers said the ITC’s report will aid this effort. It may also be used to assist Congress “in proposing or taking appropriate and responsive actions,” they said, which according to a recent Congressional Research Service report could include lowering tariffs using the legislative branch’s constitutional authority to “lay and collect duties.”

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