China Tariff Update: List 4, Next Steps

Truck in port

Photo credit: iStock.com/nightman1965

By Susan Kohn Ross

While the Federal Register notice containing all the relevant details has yet to be published, today, the U.S. Trade Representative published an announcement confirming that certain unidentified products were removed from List 4 for health, safety, national security and similar reasons, and those remaining would be rolled out on two different lists with two different effective dates. List 4A will be effective September 1, 2019 and can be found here. List 4B can be found here, and will be effective on December 15, 2019. USTR notes the products on List 4B include “cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.” Given the contents of List 4B, one is left to wonder whether USTR was trying to avoid making Christmas too grim for American consumers!

For those whose goods are on List 4A, it is still not clear whether September 1, 2019 is the date of entry in the U.S. or date of departure from China, but reliable sources say to expect that goods must be entered on or before August 31, 2019 to avoid paying this 10% tariff. Good luck trying to get your goods to the U.S. in a rush in advance of the September 1 deadline. Cargo space (air and ocean) was already tight before this announcement and can only expect to get tighter.

One bit of quasi good news is USTR stated in its announcement that an exclusion process will be provided for goods on Lists 4A and 4B, but nothing was said about beefing up staff and shortening the amount of time the exclusion process is taking to get to conclusion.

Update:
On August 15, 2019, USTR issued a pre-publication version of the Federal Register in which the formal announcement regarding China 301 Tariffs List 4A/B will be made. In that notice, USTR clarified the September 1, 2019 effective date refers to the date of entry or withdrawal for consumption for the goods on List 4A/Annex A. Similarly, for List 4B/Annex C, the December 15, 2019 effective date is also based on the date of entry or withdrawal for consumption. Oddly, the Federal Register notice also includes Annexes B and D which are intended for “informational purposes” only, with Annex B providing information regarding the goods on Annex A, and Annex D serving the same function for goods on Annex C.

See the announcement here.

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