U.S. Restores Some Exemptions on China Tariffs, Less Than Previously Considered

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced on Wednesday that it has reinstated 352 expired product exclusions from U.S. “Section 301” tariffs on Chinese imports. The exclusions went short of the 549 exclusions that was previously considered.

The exclusions will be effective retroactively from October 12, 2021. They cover a wide range of Chinese imports worth $370 billion that were hit with tariffs between 7.5% and 25% during Trump’s presidency.

The list includes industrial components like pumps and electric motors, car parts, chemicals and some consumer goods.

China’s commerce ministry welcomed the decision saying it was beneficial for normalizing bilateral trade, which it hoped would go back to normal in the near future. The ministry statement emphasized inflationary challenges to the global economic recovery and the importance of normalized Chinese-American bilateral trade in easing those challenges.

The Trump administration initially granted more than 2,200 exclusions to the tariffs to provide relief to certain industries and retailers. Most were allowed to expire, but 549 were extended for a year, and these expired at the end of 2020.

The USTR last October started a review whether to reinstate those 549 exclusions as part of U.S. strategy to confront China on its trade practices.

However, the U.S. has been unhappy with China’s performance under Trump’s Phase 1 trade agreement with Beijing.

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