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Notice

Notice of Product Exclusions: 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.

SUMMARY:

In September of 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative imposed additional duties on goods of China with an annual trade value of approximately $200 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 a product exclusion process in June 2019, and interested persons have submitted requests for the exclusion of specific products. This notice announces the U.S. Trade Representative's determination to grant certain exclusion requests, as specified in the Annex to this notice, and corrects technical errors in previously announced exclusions.

DATES:

The product exclusions announced in this notice will apply as of September 24, 2018, the effective date of the $200 billion action, to August 7, 2020. The amendments announced in this notice are retroactive to the date the original exclusions were published.

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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 including 82 FR 40213 (August 24, 2017), 83 FR 14906 (April 6, 2018), Start Printed Page 1715983 FR 28710 (June 20, 2018), 83 FR 33608 (July 17, 2018), 83 FR 38760 (August 7, 2018), 83 FR 47974 (September 21, 2018), 83 FR 49153 (September 28, 2018), 83 FR 65198 (December 19, 2018), 84 FR 7966 (March 5, 2019), 84 FR 20459 (May 9, 2019), 84 FR 29576 (June 24, 2019), 84 FRN 38717 (August 7, 2019), 84 FR 46212 (September 3, 2019), 84 FR 49591 (September 20, 2019), 84 FR 57803 (October 28, 2019), 84 FR 61674 (November 13, 2019), 84 FR 65882 (November 29, 2019), 84 FR 69012 (December 17, 2019), 85 FR 549 (January 6, 2020), 85 FR 6674 (February 5, 2020), 85 FR 9921 (February 20, 2020), and 85 FR 15015 (March 16, 2020).

Effective September 24, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative imposed additional 10 percent duties on goods of China classified in 5,757 full and partial subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), with an approximate annual trade value of $200 billion. See 83 FR 47974, as modified by 83 FR 49153. In May 2019, the U.S. Trade Representative increased the additional duty to 25 percent. See 84 FR 20459. On June 24, 2019, the Trade Representative established a process by which U.S. stakeholders could request exclusion of particular products classified within an 8-digit HTSUS subheading covered by the $200 billion action from the additional duties. See 84 FR 29576 (the June 24 notice).

Under the June 24 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 $200 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 June 24 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 June 24 notice required submission of requests for exclusion from the $200 billion action no later than September 30, 2019, and noted that the U.S. Trade Representative periodically would announce decisions. In August 2019, the U.S. Trade Representative granted an initial set of exclusion requests. See 84 FR 38717. The U.S. Trade Representative granted additional exclusions in September 2019, October 2019, November 2019, December 2019, January 2020, February 2020, and March 2020. See 84 FR 49591, 84 FR 57803, 84 FR 61674, 84 FR 65882, 84 FR 69012, 85 FR 549, 85 FR 6674, 85 FR 9921, and 85 FR 15015. The Office of the United States Trade Representative regularly updates the status of each pending request on the Exclusions Portal at https://exclusions.ustr.gov/​s/​docket?​docketNumber=​USTR-2019-0005.

B. Determination To Grant Certain Exclusions

Based on the evaluation of the factors set forth in the June 24 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 forth 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 forth in the Annex, the exclusions are reflected in one 10-digit HTSUS subheading, which covers one exclusion request, and 176 specially prepared product descriptions, which cover 202 separate exclusion requests.

In accordance with the June 24 notice, the exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the Annex, regardless of whether the importer benefitting from the product exclusion filed an exclusion request. Further, the scope of each exclusion is governed by the scope of the product descriptions in the Annex, and not by the product descriptions found in any particular request for exclusion.

Paragraph A, subparagraphs 3 through 5 of the Annex contain conforming amendments to the HTSUS reflecting the modifications made by the Annex. Paragraph B of the Annex contains amendments reflecting technical corrections to certain notes to the HTSUS, specifically U.S. note 20(pp), published at 85 FR 549 (January 6, 2020). Paragraph C of the Annex contains amendments reflecting technical corrections to certain notes to the HTSUS, specifically U.S. note 20(qq)(4) and U.S. note 20(qq)(6), published at 85 FR 6674 (February 5, 2020).

As stated in the September 20, 2019 notice, the exclusions will apply from September 24, 2018, to August 7, 2020. 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. 2020-06276 Filed 3-25-20; 8:45 am]

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