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USTR Extends All Section 301 Exclusions Through End of Year

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is extending 77 COVID-19-related tariff exclusions as well as the 352 Section 301 exclusions that were restored in March 2022. Both sets of exclusions, which were to expire at the end of September, will last through Dec. 31.

The Federal Register notice announcing the notice, including its annexes, has not yet been published, but is public. It says the extension is "to provide a transition period for the expiring exclusions and to allow for further consideration under the four-year review."

The notice said CBP will issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation.

USTR Katherine Tai told senators earlier this year that the review will be completed in the fall (see 2307190069), and added, "as part of this review, we are considering the existing tariffs structure and how to make the tariffs more strategic in light of impacts on sectors of the U.S. economy as well [as] the goal of increasing domestic manufacturing."

On CNBC's Mad Money on Sept. 5, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also referred to the strategic importance -- or lack thereof -- of the current Section 301 target list.

"We didn't put those tariffs in place. We don't think they make a whole lot of sense, in many cases," Raimondo said, and so the USTR is working on a review "to see if they're effective."

She added: "The reality is, China's practices of subsidizing their businesses hurt U.S. workers. Having said that, the Trump tariffs could have been much more strategic, and that's why we're doing this four-year review."

Raimondo said U.S. firms that do business inside China are desperate for U.S. government advocacy to bring improvements in the Chinese business environment, and hope Raimondo could help with that.

"They can't operate and think that there's going to be a raid on their business and they're not going to be told exactly what they did wrong," she said, referring to raids on consultants and research firms justified by an anti-espionage law in China.

"I'm not going to say we'll solve every problem, because we won't, [but] to even find some practical solutions, I have to be the voice of business and have to put it to the Chinese government, and give them a chance to show some changes," she said.