USTR Grants 6-Month Extension on Exclusions for 81 COVID-Related Products

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The Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced in a notice that 81 COVID specific product exclusions would be extended for an additional 6 months, with all COVID exclusions receiving an additional 16-day transition period. The exclusions on the 81 products was set to expire on November 14, 2021, but will now be pushed back until May 31, 2022, allowing these medical – care products to remain free from additional duties upon importation. The announcement comes after USTR requested public comments on August 27, 2021 on whether the exclusions should be further extended.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic last year,  USTR had previously announced an extension to the product exclusions for certain COVID- related products. The exclusion was later extended in March of this year, with the USTR leaving open the possibility that it would re-evaluate the exclusion for further extension in the future.  On September 29, 2021, the exclusions were preliminarily extended to allow review of public commentary, and then finally granted this month.

According to USTR, the decision to extend the exclusion was weighed in light of recent developments such as the Delta variant, as well as the overall impact an extension would have on the overarching goal of imposing 301 tariffs. After considering public comments, advice of relevant committees, and the White House COVID-19 Response Team, the decision was made to extend the product exclusions for 6 months past the November 30th deadline.

As a reminder, any product that meets the description in the product exclusion qualifies for the exclusion extension.

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