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Notice

Request for Comments Concerning the Extension of Particular Exclusions Granted Under the June 2019 Product Exclusion Notice From the $34 Billion Action Pursuant to Section 301: 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 and request for comments.

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 initiated the exclusion process in July 2018 and granted multiple sets of exclusions. He granted the fifth set of exclusions in June 2019, which are scheduled to expire on June 4, 2020. The U.S. Trade Representative has decided to consider a possible extension for up to 12 months of particular exclusions granted in June 2019. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) invites public comment on whether to extend particular exclusions.

DATES:

April 1, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. ET: The public docket on the web portal at https://comments.USTR.gov will open for parties to submit comments on the possible extension of particular exclusions. April 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET: To be assured of consideration, submit written comments on the public docket by this deadline.

ADDRESSES:

You must submit all comments through the online portal: https://comments.USTR.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Assistant General Counsels Philip Butler or Benjamin Allen at (202) 395-5725.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

For background on the proceedings in this investigation, please see prior notices including 82 FR 40213 (August 23, 2017), 83 FR 14906 (April 6, 2018), 83 FR 28710 (June 20, 2018), 83 FR 40823 (August 16, 2018), 83 FR 47974 (September 21, 2018), 83 FR 65198 (December 19, 2018), 84 FR 7966 (March 5, 2019), 84 FR 20459 (May 9, 2019), 84 FR 43304 (August 20, 2019), 84 FR 45821 (August 30, 2019), 84 FR 69447 (December 18, 2019), and 85 FR 3741 (January 22, 2020).

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. The U.S. Trade Representative's determination included a decision to establish a process by which U.S. stakeholders can 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).

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 periodically would announce decisions. The U.S. Trade Representative granted multiple sets of exclusions. He granted the fifth set of exclusions in June 2019, which are scheduled to expire on June 4, 2020. See 84 FR 25895 (June 4, 2019) (June 2019 notice).

B. Possible Extensions of Particular Product Exclusions

The U.S. Trade Representative has decided to consider a possible extension for up to 12 months of particular exclusions granted in the June 2019 notice. Accordingly, USTR invites public comments on whether to extend particular exclusions granted in the June 2019 notice.

USTR will evaluate the possible extension of each exclusion on a case-by-case basis. The focus of the evaluation will be whether, despite the first imposition of these additional duties in July 2018, the particular product remains available only from China. In addressing this factor, commenters should address specifically:

  • Whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries.
  • Any changes in the global supply chain since July 2018 with respect to the particular product or any other relevant industry developments.
  • The efforts, if any, the importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since July 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries.

In addition, USTR will continue to consider whether the imposition of additional duties on the products covered by the exclusion will result in severe economic harm to the commenter or other U.S. interests.

C. Procedures To Comment on the Extension of Particular Exclusions

To submit a comment regarding the extension of a particular exclusion granted in the June 2019 notice, commenters must first register on the portal at https://comments.USTR.gov. As noted above, the public docket on the portal will be open from April 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020. After registration, the commenter may submit an exclusion extension comment form to the public docket.

Fields on the comment form marked with an asterisk (*) are required fields. Fields with a gray (BCI) notation are for Business Confidential Information and the information entered will not be publicly available. Fields with a green (Public) notation will be publicly available. Additionally, parties will be able to upload documents and indicate whether the documents are BCI or public. Commenters will be able to review the public version of their comments before they are posted.

In order to facilitate the preparation of comments prior to the April 1 opening of the public docket, a facsimile of the exclusion extension comment form to be used on the portal is annexed to this notice. Please note that the color-coding of public fields and BCI fields is not visible on the attached facsimile, but will be apparent on the actual comment form used on the portal.Start Printed Page 16182

Set out below is a summary of the information to be entered on the exclusion extension comment form.

  • Contact information, including the full legal name of the organization making the comment, whether the commenter is a third party (e.g., law firm, trade association, or customs broker) submitting on behalf of an organization or industry, and the name of the third party organization, if applicable.
  • The number and product description for the exclusion on which you are commenting as provided in the Annex of the Federal Register notice granting the exclusion.
  • Whether the product or products covered by the exclusion are subject to an antidumping or countervailing duty order issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • Whether you support or oppose extending the exclusion and an explanation of your rationale. Commenters must provide a public version of their rationale, even if the commenter also intends to submit a more detailed business confidential rationale.
  • Whether the products covered by the exclusion or comparable products are available from sources in the U.S. or in third countries. Please include information concerning any changes in the global supply chain since July 2018 with respect to the particular product.
  • The efforts you have undertaken since July 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries.
  • The value and quantity of the Chinese-origin product covered by the specific exclusion request purchased in 2018, the first half of 2018, and the first half of 2019. Whether these purchases are from a related company, and if so, the name of and relationship to the related company.
  • Whether Chinese suppliers have lowered their prices for products covered by the exclusion following the imposition of duties.
  • The value and quantity of the product covered by the exclusion purchased from domestic and third country sources in 2018, the first half of 2018, and the first half of 2019.
  • If applicable, the commenter's gross revenue for 2018, the first half of 2018, and the first half of 2019.
  • Whether the Chinese-origin product of concern is sold as a final product or as an input.
  • Whether the imposition of duties on the products covered by the exclusion will result in severe economic harm to the commenter or other U.S. interests.
  • Any additional information in support of or in opposition to extending the exclusion.

Commenters also may provide any other information or data that they consider relevant.

D. Submission Instructions

To be assured of consideration, you must submit your comment between the opening of the public docket on the portal on April 1, 2020 and the April 30, 2020 submission deadline. Parties seeking to comment on two or more exclusions must submit a separate comment for each exclusion.

By submitting a comment, the commenter certifies that the information provided is complete and correct to the best of their knowledge.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) and its implementing regulations, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) assigned control number 0350-0015, which expires January 31, 2023.

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Joseph Barloon,

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

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[FR Doc. 2020-05890 Filed 3-19-20; 8:45 am]

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