Just a quick update on Section 301, and the process surrounding List 3, in particular.
As you know, the U.S. Trade Representative is considering whether to impose an additional 25% duty on a list of tariff provisions that represent $200 billion worth of imports from China (this is ‘List 3’). The Section 301 Interagency Committee will be holding a public hearing on the scope of List 3 beginning this week. The USTR will hear testimony from approximately 350 interested parties over 6 days. The hearing schedule and the list of parties testifying are attached here for your reference.
In addition, we wanted to let you know that, as of last Thursday, the USTR had received 386 product exclusion requests under List 1. The oldest request was filed on July 16, 2018. So far, none of the 386 product exclusion requests have been acted upon. A list of the exclusion requests is attached for your reference. The USTR is expected to publish a notice in the Federal Register opening the exclusion process for List 2 shortly. A similar notice (presumably) will be published for List 3 shortly after that list is finalized (expected in mid-to-late September). Remember, it is better to file your exclusion request as early in the process as possible (it is going to be a long line!).
Finally, there will be a meeting in Washington between Chinese and U.S. officials later this week. This meeting is billed as being between “mid-level” officials on both sides (so, it is likely a meeting about whether it makes sense to keep meeting). While this is a positive sign, it does not mean that the end is near (by any stretch). For one reason, the U.S. delegation is being lead by a Treasury Department official. The trade agenda (at least when it comes to China) is being driven by the White House, Commerce Department and USTR (not by Treasury). As a result, no major breakthroughs are expected at this meeting. That said, it is also being reported that there could be a possible meeting between President Trump and President Xi at one of the international meetings both will be attending in November. While a resolution may not seem likely, President Trump has demonstrated a certain penchant for ‘declaring victory’ after in-person meetings with world leaders (and leaving the details to be worked out by others later – e.g., the Singapore summit with North Korea, the White House meeting with EU Commission President Juncker last month). Nothing would surprise me at this point.
We hope this update is helpful. If you have any questions about these issues, please let us know.