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Notice

Notice of Product Exclusions and Amendments: China's Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Notice of product exclusions and amendments.

SUMMARY:

Effective July 6, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative imposed additional duties on goods of China with an annual trade value of approximately $34 billion as part of the action in the Section 301 investigation of China's acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation. The U.S. Trade Representative's determination included a decision to establish a product exclusion process. The U.S. Trade Representative initiated the exclusion process in July 2018, and stakeholders have submitted requests for the exclusion of specific products. In December 2018, and March, April, May, June, July and September 2019, the U.S. Trade Representative granted exclusion requests. This notice announces the U.S. Trade Representative's determination to grant additional exclusion requests, as specified in the Annex to this notice. The U.S. Trade Representative will continue to issue decisions as necessary. This notice also corrects errors by removing certain notes in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

DATES:

The product exclusions announced in this notice will apply as of the July 6, 2018 effective date of the $34 billion action, and will extend for one year after the publication of this notice. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For general questions about this notice, contact Assistant General Counsels Philip Butler or Megan Grimball, or Director of Industrial Goods Justin Hoffmann at (202) 395-5725. For specific questions on customs classification or implementation of the product exclusions identified in the Annex to this notice, contact traderemedy@cbp.dhs.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

For background on the proceedings in this investigation, please see the prior notices issued in the investigation, including 82 FR 40213 (August 23, 2017), 83 FR 14906 (April 6, 2018), 83 FR 28710 (June 20, 2018), 83 FR 33608 (July 17, 2018), 83 FR 38760 (August 7, 2018), 83 FR 40823 (August 16, 2018), 83 FR 47974 (September 21, 2018), 83 FR 65198 (December 19, 2018), 83 FR 67463 (December 28, 2018), 84 FR 7966 (March 5, 2019), 84 FR 11152 (March 25, 2019), 84 FR 16310 (April 18, 2019), 84 FR 21389 (May 14, 2019), 84 FR 25895 (June 4, 2019), 84 FR 32821 (July 9, 2019), and 84 FR 49564 (September 20, 2019).

Effective July 6, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative imposed additional 25 percent duties on goods of China classified in 818 8-digit subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), with an approximate annual trade value of $34 billion. See 83 FR 28710. ($34 billion action.) The U.S. Trade Representative's determination included a decision to establish a process by which U.S. stakeholders may request exclusion of particular products classified within an 8-digit HTSUS subheading covered by the $34 billion action from the additional duties. The U.S. Trade Representative issued a notice setting out the process for the product exclusions, and opened a public docket. See 83 FR 32181 (the July 11 notice).

Under the July 11 notice, requests for exclusion had to identify the product subject to the request in terms of the physical characteristics that distinguish the product from other products within the relevant 8-digit subheading covered by the $34 billion action. Requestors also had to provide the 10-digit subheading of the HTSUS most applicable to the particular product requested for exclusion, and could submit information on the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to administer the requested exclusion. Requestors were asked to provide the quantity and value of the Chinese-origin product that the requestor purchased in the last three years. With regard to the rationale for the requested exclusion, requests had to address the following factors:

  • Whether the particular product is available only from China and specifically whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or third countries.
  • Whether the imposition of additional duties on the particular product would cause severe economic harm to the requestor or other U.S. interests.
  • Whether the particular product is strategically important or related to “Made in China 2025” or other Chinese industrial programs.

The July 11 notice stated that the U.S. Trade Representative would take into account whether an exclusion would undermine the objective of the Section 301 investigation.

The July 11 notice required submission of requests for exclusion from the $34 billion action no later than October 9, 2018, and noted that the U.S. Trade Representative would periodically announce decisions. In December 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative granted an initial set of exclusion requests. See 83 FR 67463. The U.S. Trade Representative granted additional exclusions in March, April, May, June, July, and September 2019. See 84 FR 11152, 84 FR 16310, 84 FR 21389, 84 FR 25895, 84 FR 32821, and 84 FR 49564. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regularly updates the status of each pending request and posts the status within the web pages for the respective tariff action they apply to at https://ustr.gov/​issue-areas/​enforcement/​section-301-investigations/​tariff-actions.

B. Determination To Grant Certain Exclusions

Based on the evaluation of the factors set out in the July 11 notice, which are summarized above, pursuant to sections 301(b), 301(c), and 307(a) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, and in accordance with the advice of the interagency Section 301 Committee, the U.S. Trade Representative has determined to grant the product exclusions set out in the Annex to this notice. The U.S. Trade Representative's determination also takes into account advice from advisory committees and any public comments on the pertinent exclusion requests.

As set out in the Annex to this notice, the exclusions are reflected in 92 specially prepared product descriptions, which cover 129 separate exclusion requests.

In accordance with the July 11 notice, the exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the Annex, regardless of whether the importer filed an exclusion request. Further, the scope of each exclusion is governed by the scope of the 10-digit HTSUS headings and product descriptions in the Annex to this notice, and not by the product descriptions set out in any particular request for exclusion.Start Printed Page 52568

Paragraph A, subparagraphs (3)-(5) are conforming amendments to the HTSUS reflecting the modification made by the Annex to this notice.

Paragraphs B, C, D, and E of the Annex correct errors by removing U.S. notes 20(q)(115), 20(q)(132), 20(q)(133), and 20(q)(216) of subchapter III of chapter 99 of the HTSUS. These notes relate to HTS subheadings covered by other tariff actions, but they were placed in the annex to the notice published at 84 FR 49564 (September 20, 2019), which excluded products under HTS subheadings covered by the $34 billion action.

As stated in the July 11 notice, the exclusions will apply as of the July 6, 2018 effective date of the $34 billion action, and extend for one year after the publication of this notice. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation.

The U.S. Trade Representative will continue to issue determinations on pending requests on a periodic basis.

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Joseph Barloon,

General Counsel, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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[FR Doc. 2019-21420 Filed 10-1-19; 8:45 am]

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