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October 4, 2018

Legal Strategies for Surviving Trump’s China Tariffs

By Jay Rogers

Greenville Business Magazine

Reprinted with permission from the Greenville Business Magazine

Since July 6, 2018, there have been three waves of tariffs imposed on $250 billion in goods imported to the United States from China. The tariff actions have taken place under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which gives the president of the United States the right to impose tariffs on countries that are engaging in “acts, policies, or practices that are unreasonable or discriminatory and that burden or restrict U.S. commerce.”

In recognition of the fact that there may exist valid reasons for not imposing these tariffs with respect to particular products, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has set up a procedure by which American businesses, trade associations and other stakeholders may apply for an exclusion from tariffs on Chinese products. The deadline for applying for an exclusion for the first tranche of tariffs, however, is Oct. 9, 2018. While the administration’s intent in imposing these tariffs is clearly to protect American industry, the stark reality for many American companies that import Chinese components in order to produce their own finished goods (and to provide services) is that these tariffs pose a tremendous challenge to their business model.