U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that his agency has “begun preparations to launch” an exclusion process for a third tranche of Section 301 tariffs on products from China, according to correspondence between him and Congress.
The exclusion process would pertain to 10 percent tariffs across $200 billion worth of goods in yearly import value.
In responses to questions asked by Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., following a February House Ways and Means Committee hearing during which Lighthizer (pictured above) testified, the USTR said his agency had begun preparations to launch such an exclusion process by the end of April. The hearing responses were submitted a couple weeks ago.
“Members of Congress believe that we should have an exclusion process for List 3,” Lighthizer wrote. “For this reason, we have begun preparations to launch a process by the end of the month.”
In response to questions by Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., Lighthizer clarified that USTR at this time is not considering an appeals process for any Section 301 exclusion decisions.
An agency spokesperson didn’t respond to American Shipper questions about an exclusion process for List 3.
USTR has made several efforts to help small businesses apply for Section 301 exclusions, including by working individually with requesters and working with the Small Business Administration (SBA), creating frequently asked questions to address small business concerns at SBA’s request, among other things, Lighthizer wrote in response to questions by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo.
Lighthizer also noted that USTR conducted an extensive notice and comment process during the Section 301 investigation that included four public hearings, more than 500 witnesses and approximately 10,000 comments.
Several small businesses have sustained financial impacts as a result of the tariffs. Section 301 tariffs have financially impacted several small businesses.
In response to Walorski’s questions, Lighthizer said about 25 USTR attorneys, paralegals and trade analysts with experience in law, industrial sectors and data analysis work on the Section 301 exclusion process, working extensively with the International Trade Commission and other federal agencies with relevant expertise.