Tue April 17, 2018

On April 3, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the proposal of additional 25-percent tariffs of $50 billion on certain products imported from China, including items of plastics machinery found in Chapter 84 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). These proposed tariffs are in response to USTR’s Section 301 investigation report on intellectual property theft and technology transfer from China. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 authorizes the USTR broad authority to respond to a foreign country’s unfair trade practices, including retaliation through tariffs. 

A public comment period is underway with written and public testimony being requested by the USTR. PLASTICS will submit comments and encourages member companies to do the same. Information about how and when to submit comments is included in the Federal Register Notice. No decision on imposing tariffs will be made until after the public comment period and after the Section 301 Committee, an interagency committee of the United States government, reviews testimonies and makes a final decision.

In retaliation of proposed tariffs, China proposed its own $50 billion in additional 25-percent tariffs on imports from the United States including certain plastics materials and products. Based on the document released by the Chinese government, PLASTICS has translated the HTS and World Customs Organization (WCO) Chapter 39 codes that cover plastics. There has been no announcement from China on an effective date for these tariffs. After China’s proposal, President Trump ordered the USTR to consider an additional $100 billion in tariffs on China to retaliate under Section 301.

At this writing, Trump Administration officials have signaled that the administration is ready to begin trade negotiations with the Chinese government. After the announcement of tariffs, PLASTICS issued this statement.