The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a notice of product exclusions yesterday for duties on certain Chinese goods following Section 301 actions affecting approximately $200 billion worth of trade.

Exemptions potentially significant to the door and window industries include:

  • Standard wood moldings made of oak;
  • Fiberboard sheets containing phenolic resin; and
  • Tool tips, strips and sticks made of tungsten carbide.

USTR initially issued additional 10% duties on Chinese goods effective September 24, 2018, in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which classifies goods under 5,757 full and partial headings, at a total trade value of about $200 billion. The additional duty was then raised to 25% in May 2019. Product exclusions announced in yesterday’s notice will apply as of the original September 24, 2018 date, through August 7, 2020.

In June, the USTR established a process for requesting exclusions on particular products in the HTSUS, with a deadline of the end of September. This process required applicants to address the following factors:

  • Whether the product could only be found in China and no other countries;
  • Whether the imposition of additional duties on the product would cause severe economic harm; and
  • Whether the product is strategically important to “Made in China 2025” or other Chinese industrial programs.

Based on these factors, the USTR determined if an exclusion would undermine the objective of Section 301 actions. So far, the USTR has issued a notice granting exclusions each month since August 2019 and will continue to issue determinations on pending requests on a periodic basis.

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