Background

Importers looking to obtain refunds of Section 301 tariffs on List 3 and 4A goods from China got good news recently when the Court of International Trade made it easier for importers participating in a landmark case challenging those tariffs to receive a refund if their case is successful. In the meantime, importers who have not yet joined the litigation may still do so and preserve their own right to potential refunds. For more information, or assistance filing a claim of your own, please contact attorneys Larry Ordet, Lenny Feldman, Rob DeCamp, or David Cohen at 301Litigation@strtrade.com.

The litigation, first filed in 2020 and since joined by thousands of importers, argues that the Section 301 tariffs on List 3 and List 4A goods were imposed in violation of the authority provided under the Trade Act of 1974 and the Administrative Procedures Act. If the test case being considered by the CIT 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.

Recently, after months of legal wrangling, the U.S. conceded that there were insurmountable challenges to suspending liquidation of the millions of potentially affected entries. Instead, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to liquidate such entries as normal and, should the plaintiffs win the case, CBP will reliquidate entries of subject goods that were unliquidated on or after July 6, 2021, or filed on or after that date.

As a result, the CIT rescinded a previous order for CBP to establish a repository of entry information for subject entries, meaning plaintiff importers of such goods will not be required to submit such entry information at present, saving both them and the government substantial time and effort. However, entry data going back to the inception of the tariffs (Sept. 24, 2018, for List 3 and Sept. 1, 2019, for List 4A) must still be maintained for possible future proof of claims if refunds are authorized.

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg is a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee that worked to obtain this result and is continuing to collaborate with the court and the government to move the case along. The CIT has set forth a schedule under which it will continue to gather information through mid-November, but the plaintiffs are pushing for a faster resolution, arguing that continued payment of the tariffs has harmed U.S. competitiveness, delayed investments, slowed the economy, caused job losses, and disrupted livelihoods.

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