Exemptions from China “additional duty” tariffs

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US Customs has just implemented a new set of exemptions from the first round of "additional duty" tariffs on specific products of China.  These exemptions were actually authorized by the Office of the US Trade Representative, which is a part of the Executive Office of the President of the US.  The exemptions apply to a very short and focused list of products, from within the much longer first round list which became subject to the 25% "additional duty" in July 2018.

Each exemption represents at least one request from a US importer to allow an exception to this “additional duty” for a type or category of Chinese product.  Although the specific reasons for these requests vary, individual requests may include (for example) assertions that a product is one or more of:

  • supports the national defense or economic security of the US

  • not available from US manufacturers or producers

  • technically or economically impractical to source from suppliers in countries other than China

  • not available from suppliers in countries other than China

Chinese products included in this exemption list include specific types of:

  • hydraulic power engines and motors

  • drinking water coolers

  • injection molds

  • ball bearings

  • citizens band (CB) radios

  • marine outboard engines

  • plastic "salad spinners"

  • water filtration equipment

  • winches

  • elevators and conveyors

  • items and components of papermaking machinery

  • workstands for use with miter saws

  • radiation therapy systems

  • thermostats

Many (actually, most) of these exemptions are very narrowly drawn, and will apply only to very specific varieties or models of equipment within these general descriptions. 

The set of exemptions is retroactive to July 6, 2018, and currently scheduled to remain in effect until December 28, 2019.  If there are no changes between now and then, to either the items included in the first China "additional duty" list from summer 2018 or these exemptions from it, the 25% "additional duty" would again apply to shipments of these items for which entry summary is filed on or after December 28, 2019.  Please note that, taking into account the events of the past twelve months or so, it seems entirely possible that we could see additional changes in these (and many other) areas between now and next December.

For goods included in this set of exemptions, for which an entry summary was filed and duty paid on or after July 6, 2018, and for which the 25% “additional duty” was paid to US Customs by or on behalf of the importer of record, importers and their customs brokers can file either a Post Summary Correction (PSC) for each unliquidated entry, or a protest for a liquidated entry, to request a refund of that amount.

For new entries of goods subject to one of the exemptions in this set, entry filers should use the new additional HTS number 9903.88.05, instead of additional HTS number 9903.88.01 which is still used to identify non-exempted items from the first round of "additional duty" tariffs on specific products of China. 

Meanwhile, other exemption requests, filed for goods covered by later rounds of "additional duty" tariffs on specific products of China, are still being evaluated by the US Trade Representative’s office.  Some of these requests seen likely to be approved, in which case the exemptions for these goods are likely to be implemented in a similar manner.  However, there is currently no firm, published schedule for doing so.

Transmark Customs Brokers will continue to monitor this topic, and to assist our valued clients in recovering customs duty refunds for which they are eligible, under retroactive exemptions from “additional duty” tariffs on specified Chinese products.  Contact us today to see what refunds may be available to you!