September 16, 2020

Court of International Trade Docket 20-00177 Section 301 Refund Claim

Refunds of China Section 301 Tariffs may be available to Importers who file claims with the ITC

Due to the nature of U.S. law, if the challenge is upheld, retroactive relief will only be available to those importers/parties that have filed claims with the International Trade Court.

The current basis for the claim is that the US trade representative’s institution of List 3 tariffs violated the Trade Act of 1974 since the USTR failed to make a determination that there was an unfair trade practice that required a remedy, that List 3 tariffs were instituted beyond the 12-month time limit provided for in the governing statute (19 U.S.C. § 2414), and that it violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

A recently filed claim by several importers could result in refunds of all Section 301 tariffs levied to date on List 3 and List 4A goods from China, regardless of whether a timely protest was filed or if an exclusion is available. Importers, however, must file their own independent claims to preserve their potential refunds by Friday, Sept. 18.

For over two years, the U.S. has assessed additional tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Although some exclusions from these tariffs have been approved, most of the covered goods remain subject to these tariffs, which will continue to be assessed on future entries. 

Under the law, any challenge must be filed within two years of the date of the Executive Order. The Executive Order in question is President’s Executive Order 13849. This order was published in the Federal Register on September 21, 2018. This means that a court case should be filed by Friday, September 18, 2020 to avoid any problems withstanding.

If this litigation is successful, refunds of all Section 301 tariffs paid on List 3 and List 4A goods, regardless of whether an exclusion was previously available or filed, would become available.

Importers now have a narrow window of opportunity to join this challenge and preserve their rights to such refunds by filing their own timely complaint. 

If your products fall under these two lists and you wish to file against the same theory, you will need to contact a Trade Attorney.

Please contact Crane Trade Services for information on how to proceed. 

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