U.S. reinstates tariff exemptions on 352 Chinese products
Updated 13:39, 24-Mar-2022

U.S. will reinstate exemptions on 352 out of 549 categories of Chinese imports from the so-called "Section 301" tariffs after previously granted exemptions expired, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said on Wednesday. 

The reinstated exemptions will apply as of October 12, 2021 and extend through December 31, 2022, according to the USTR. They cover a wide range of the initially estimated $370 billion worth of Chinese imports that the Trump administration hit with punitive tariffs of 7.5-25 percent. 

The exempted items include industrial components such as pumps and electric motors, certain car parts and chemicals, backpacks, bicycles, vacuum cleaners and other consumer goods. 

The Trump administration initially had granted over 2,200 exclusions to the tariffs to provide relief to certain industries and retailers. With most expired, 549 were extended for a year, which also expired at the end of 2020. 

Since inviting comments on whether to reinstate 549 exclusions in October 2021, the USTR received over 2,000 requests from businesses, most of which sought to have tariffs peeled back as U.S. importers paid the tariffs. 

The USTR declined to renew exemptions on 197 categories of Chinese imports. It said on Wednesday that the determination was made after "careful consideration of the public comments and in consultation with other U.S. agencies." 

A bipartisan group of 41 senators called that all goods would be eligible for consideration in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai last month. They claimed that "the current narrow exclusion process denies many a fair shake, and instead picks winners and losers among businesses." 

The senators also criticized the government for only retroactively applying the exemptions as far back as October 2021, indicating that U.S. importers would have paid tariffs for nearly 10 months as the exclusions expired by the end of 2020. 

(With input from agencies) 

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