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September 16, 2020

China Tariffs: Court of International Trade Lawsuit Challenges Section 301 Tariffs

The ACTA Group

A recent legal challenge may be of interest to some of our clients. The challenge involves a case filed in the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) challenging President Trump’s authority to impose supplemental tariffs on goods from China identified on Lists 3 and 4A and seeking refunds. As our clients know well, some pesticides and cleaning products are listed on List 3 and thus subject to 25% China tariffs.

There are two prongs to the argument. One prong is that the List 3 and List 4A retaliations were not related to the original purpose for which retaliation was recommended by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), i.e., China’s Intellectual Property Rights practices. The second prong is that these retaliations were untimely because they occurred more than 12 months after the USTR issued its report.

We believe that the challenge has merit. It would be prudent for any importer who has paid the Section 301 tariffs on List 3 or List 4A goods to file a protective action in the CIT. We offer a memorandum prepared by our long-time customs and trade counsel, Michael K. Tomenga of Neville Peterson LLP, which provides additional information.