By: Brandon French, Associate Attorney, Braumiller Law Group

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has recently opened a comment period to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The USTR is inviting interested parties to submit a comment explaining whether a product currently covered by the Section 301 tariff action is needed for the medical and public health response against the virus. This comment period applies to all medical items, even those subject to pending or previously denied exclusion requests. The docket to submit a comment is currently open and will remain open until at least June 25, 2020.

Within each request, the commenter should include at least the following information:

  • Detailed explanation of the product, including the ten-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) code;
  • Identity of the product based on its functionality and physical characteristics;
  • Information as to how the product relates to the COVID-19 outbreak; and
  • Explanation as to whether a modification of the Section 301 duty would affect the availability of the product.

The USTR has indicated that it will continue to prioritize the review of exclusion requests that address medical care products related to the coronavirus. For additional information pertaining to the COVID-19 comment period, click here.

Along with the open comment period, the USTR has released three separate exclusion approval lists on List 4A for medical-related products. These three approval lists account for approximately 200 separate exclusion requests. Products on these lists range from personal protective equipment to other medical-care related items. If a company filed an exclusion request on a medical item that was not included on a recent publication, it should consider taking advantage of the above comment period. Based on the current situation with the coronavirus, it seems that the USTR is leaning towards approving most items that are directly related to the virus’ response efforts. While the situation is fluid, this is a good opportunity for importers of medical-care products to immediately mitigate their Section 301 tariff impact.

For any additional inquiries, or if you would like to discuss filing an exclusion request for medical-related products in more detail, please email Brandon French at