Yesterday evening, the President formally announced tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports starting one week from today on September 24. The final version of List 3 retained the vast majority of tariff lines on the original proposed list, including 5,745 of the original 6,031 lines. The US Trade Representative (USTR) removed just under 300 items from the original list, including “consumer electronics products such as smart watches and Bluetooth devices; certain chemical inputs for manufactured goods, textiles and agriculture; certain health and safety products such as bicycle helmets, and child safety furniture such as car seats and playpens”.
The products on List 3 includes all of the wire products that were on the proposed list and on which the AWPA submitted comments. Imports of these products from China will be subject to a 10% tariff rate, effective next Monday, September 24, 2018. The tariff rate will increase to 25% on January 1, 2019. (See an excerpt of List 3’s wire product tariff codes, on the AWPA website.)
While the USTR has announced the exclusion request process for Lists 1 & 2, the announcement did not indicate that the process would be the same for List 4. AWPA will continue to monitor the situation and provide more details, once the exclusion process has been confirmed. It is very different that that being used for exclusion from the Section 232 steel tariffs and is being administered by the USTR, not Commerce.
Trump’s statement also indicated that if China retaliates with tariffs or actions of its own, the administration will take steps towards tariffs on a so-called List 4 of $267 billion of additional imports. Neither the President’s nor USTR’s statement makes any mention of plans or intentions to negotiate with the Chinese.
Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) stated “With every day that passes without progress on a rules-based, bilateral trade agreement with China, the potential grows for manufacturers and manufacturing workers to get hurt. No one wins in a trade war, and manufacturing workers are hopeful the administration’s approach will quickly yield results. Now is the time for talks – not just tariffs – and manufacturers have laid out a blueprint to reset the US-China commercial relationship that will result in ending China’s unfair and anti-competitive behavior.”