As of Jan. 1 virtually all goods previously excluded from the Section 301 additional tariffs on imports from China became subject to those tariffs, which range from 7.5 percent to 25 percent. However, importers of such goods can preserve their rights to possible refunds of those tariffs by joining a lawsuit in the Court of International Trade challenging the tariffs on List 3 and 4A goods.
For more than two 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. Some goods were excluded from these tariffs, including products used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, but nearly all those exclusions expired Dec. 31. In addition, President-elect Biden has indicated that these tariffs will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.
However, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg has filed cases with the CIT arguing 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. We have specifically claimed 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. This could happen sooner than later, as there are indications that if the CIT rules in favor of ST&R’s claims the incoming Biden administration will decline to appeal that decision.
Importers now have the opportunity to join this challenge and preserve their rights to such refunds by filing a complaint in the CIT. ST&R attorneys are available to counsel importers and file these claims.
For more information, or assistance filing your claim, please contact Larry Ordet, Lenny Feldman, Rob DeCamp, or David Cohen at 301Litigation@strtrade.com.
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