US Announces Agency Review of Section 301 and Section 232 Tariffs

ArentFox Schiff

ArentFox Schiff

US Government agencies have announced concurrent reviews of the Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs, which may result in changes to the current tariff rates and product lists in the coming months. At the end of this report is a chart specifying the periods and deadlines this spring and summer to submit comments to the respective government agencies regarding these tariffs.

US Trade Representative Review of Section 301 Tariffs

As detailed in our previous alert, the US Trade Representative (USTR) has initiated the first step of a statutorily mandated review process to determine whether the Section 301 tariffs should be continued. The additional tariffs, which initially took effect in 2018, have now been in effect for 4-years, triggering a review to determine their effectiveness and impact on the US economy. On May 5th, the USTR published a notice announcing a two phase comment period for interested parties to weigh in on whether the tariffs should be continued:

  • Phase 1: a 60 day period for parties that have benefited from the tariffs to request their continuation;
  • Phase 2: if at least one party requests that the tariffs remain in effect, the USTR will announce “in one or more subsequent notices” a second comment period for all interested parties to comment, including parties objecting to the continuation of the tariffs.

The Phase 1 comment period for List 1 and List 3 will open on May 7, 2022, and end on July 5, 2022. The Phase 1 comment period for List 2 and List 4A will open on June 24, 2022, and end on August 22, 2022.

International Trade Commission Investigation of Section 301 and Section 232 Tariffs

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has also launched an investigation on the economic impact of the Section 301 tariffs on imports from China and the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. In a notice published on May 10th, the ITC announced its investigation into US trade, production, and prices in the industries directly and most affected by active tariffs.

Interested parties, including companies objecting to the tariffs, have the opportunity to comment either by testifying at a hearing or submitting written comments. The ITC has not yet announced whether the hearing will occur remotely or in person.

The ITC will report the results of its investigation to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The investigation may result in revisions to the tariffs, though it is not yet clear what power the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations have to unilaterally revise or eliminate the tariffs, other than to pressure the President to do so.

Upcoming Deadlines for Participants

These USTR and ITC reviews may result in significant changes to the Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs. Importers and others affected by these tariffs are urged to consider filing written comments and/or testifying before the ITC.

As shown in the comparative schedule of the two proceedings before the two agencies, the testimony and briefing before the ITC will likely conclude before the USTR’s Phase 2 review. Substantive comments submitted to the USTR in “Phase 2” will therefore occur after the record at the ITC has closed.

USTR Review ITC Investigation
Date Event Date Event
May 7, 2022 Web portal will open for parties to request continuation of the July 6, 2018 action and modification, i.e. List 1 and List 3.    
June 24, 2022 Web portal will open for parties to request continuation of the August 23, 2018 action and modification, i.e. List 2 and List 4A.    
July 5, 2022 Web portal will close for requests to continue
the List 1 and List 3 duties.
    July 6, 2022 Deadline for filing requests to appear at the public hearing.
    July 8, 2022 Deadline for filing prehearing briefs and statements.
    July 14, 2022 Deadline for filing electronic copies of oral hearing statements.
    July 21, 2022 Public hearing.
  . August 12, 2022 Deadline for filing post hearing briefs and statements.
August 22, 2022 Web portal will close for requests to continue
the List 2 and List 4A duties.
    August 24, 2022 Deadline for filing all other written submissions.
    March 15, 2023 Transmittal of Commission report to Congress.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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