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The 411 on 301: Essential Information about the Section 301-China/Trump Tariffs



Are you confused about the rules governing imports from China into the U.S., especially Section 301-China, or the so-called Trump tariffs? 

You are definitely not alone! 

It is our job to track the nitty-gritty details of Section 301 and all other customs matters—and help ensure your cargo clears customs as quickly, cost-effectively, and compliantly as possible. However, we have prepared the following guide to explain the essentials. 

For the latest official information about Section 301, you should consult the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) guide, How to Navigate the Section 301 Tariff Process

What are Section 301-China tariffs? 

The Section 301 tariffs are fees placed on imports of a long list of Chinese-made products into the U.S. They range from 7.5% to 25% of the value of the products. 

The first set of these tariffs went into effect in 2018. Since then, three more sets of products have been added to the list. Each group of products is referred to as a "tranche" or a "list." 

Why all the confusion?

Put simply, the rules governing Section 301 have, for various reasons, undergone frequent and ongoing changes since they were first imposed in 2018, because: 

  • While there have been significant agreements between China and the U.S., experts consider them truces rather than peace treaties, and ongoing talks are likely to lead to yet more changes. 

  • U.S. policy remains in flux, especially rules about exclusions (certain specific products exempted from tariffs). 

  • The COVID crisis has resulted in additional modifications. 

What products are affected?

From elevators and aircraft parts to soybeans and wooden hangers, the list of affected products is long and wide-ranging. The U.S. government has applied tariffs to four different sets of products since 2018. 

See below, and click through for details. 

Products Affected Tariff Rate

818 products – machinery, manufacturing inputs, elevators, aircraft parts 25%

284 products – soybeans, automobiles and chemicals 25%

5,745 products – food, beverages, chemicals, wood, fabrics 25%

3805 products – electronics, sports equipment, clothes 7.5%



Are there any exceptions to these rules? 

The short answer is, yes. The US allows for what it calls "exclusions" for certain specific products, which means they are not subject to Section 301 tariffs.

The list of excluded products is very long and often in flux. Find out the latest at the USTR guide, or contact us with questions. 


Overview

  • $50 billion: the total amount of goods imported from China that may be subject to a tariff

  • 25%: the percent of goods subject to the tariff by the USTR

  • 301: The section of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 that gives the President the power to levy duties

  • 818: The number of harmonized tariff schedule codes subject to the first round of tariffs

  • $34 billion: total in billions of the amount of goods in the first batch of 818 codes

  • 7/6: The date the 818 codes will be subject to the tariff

  • 284: A second batch of proposed goods to be subject to the 25% tariff, due to undergo public comment this summer.

  • $16 billion: the valuation of the second batch to be assessed by the USTR after public comment

  • $200 billion: the valuation of the third batch to be assessed by the USTR after public comment

  • $300 billion: the valuation of the fourth batch to be assessed by the USTR after public comment

  • 659: China has already announced retaliatory tariffs on some 659 types of goods

How can Zeus Logics help? 

If you have any doubts about Section 301 tariffs—or customs clearance generally—we welcome your questions and are ready help you move cargo through customs as quickly, easily and cost-effectively as possible.


Photo by Mitchell Luo

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