The USTR proposes additional duties on chinese seafood imports

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By Milthon Lujan

On Tuesday, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it was beginning the process of imposing an additional ten percent (10%) tariff on $200 billion on imported goods from China. The USTR also issued a lengthy list of products, encompassing 6,031 tariff subheadings, proposed to be subject to these additional ten percent tariffs.

The initial action to be taken under Section 301 (19 U.S.C. § 2411) was intended to incentivize the government of China to reform its policies that had resulted in the transfer and theft of intellectual property and technology because of restrictions and limitations placed on foreign investment in China. Rather than address these policies, identified in a 200-page report issued by the USTR, the government of China responded to the Section 301 action by imposing additional tariffs on U.S. goods imported into China. In light of the government of China’s refusal to address the Trump Administration’s concerns, the USTR intends to take substantial supplemental action.

In the Federal Register notice to be published regarding this additional action to be taken under Section 301, the USTR explained that the $200 billion worth of goods to be covered by additional tariffs represented less than half of the $505 billion in total imports from China made into the United States last year, but were considerably in excess of the $130 billion in goods exported from the United States to China in 2017. Although China has retaliated against the United States’ initial Section 301 actions to impose an additional twenty-five percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, because of the massive trade deficit between the two countries, China simply does not import enough goods from the United States to retaliate against a similar scope of imports.

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The list of products released by the USTR appears to include tariff subheadings covering all of this country’s imports of Chinese seafood. Last year, the U.S. imported roughly $2.7 billion worth of Chinese seafood. The proposed list encompasses both aquacultured and wild-caught seafood products, as well as seafood products that are further processed in China.

The USTR additionally announced that it will be accepting comments on its proposed list and conducting a public hearing on August 20, 2018.

Read the USTR’s Federal Register notice regarding Supplemental Section 301 action here: China FRN 7-10-2018_0.pdf  

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