U.S. to Raise Section 301 Tariffs to 30 Percent on October 1 for Lists of Merchandise

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Last week President Trump tweeted his intentions concerning a hike in tariffs on products entering the U.S. from China and he also threatened to use extraordinary powers against U.S. companies manufacturing in China, according to an alert issued by The Vision Council. Trump is proposing the following measures:

• Raise the existing China 301 tariffs on merchandise set out on the first, second and third lists from 25 percent to 30 percent. This increase will take place for goods entering the United States on or after Oct. 1, 2019. This will impact Chinese-origin eyeglass cases, lens cleaning solutions, hand-held and stand magnifiers, and various other diagnostic and equipment used in eyewear production.

• Raise the upcoming China 301 tariff on merchandise set out on lists 4A and 4B from 10 percent to 15 percent. This increase will take place for goods entering the U.S. on or after Sept. 1, 2019, for list 4A merchandise, and Dec. 15, 2019, for list 4B merchandise. Chinese-origin eyeglasses, spectacle lenses, spectacle frames, reading glasses, Plano and Rx sunglasses, and most low vision devices are on list 4A. To see the complete list 4A and 4B, visit click here.

The Vision Council conducted a flash survey to learn how members may respond to the fourth list of Tariffs. Click here for a look at the results.

• Trump also threatened to invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) to force U.S. companies out of China and into other countries, especially the U.S. IEEPA is a very broad federal statute, which is used as the basis for many U.S. sanctions against foreign countries. To use it, however, Trump would have to conclude that trade with China, or manufacturing in China, constitutes a national emergency. Such a statement would equate China with nations currently subject to trade sanctions such as North Korea, Iran or Cuba. Right now, this Tweet is just a threat, The Vision Council said.

The Vision Council reminded member companies impacted by the third list of China tariffs—including eyeglass cases, lens cleaning solutions and magnifiers—that Sept. 30, 2019 is the deadline to request a specific exclusion to the list three duties. If your company requests an exclusion, be prepared to provide the following information:

1. Requestor’s relationship to the product.
2. Is this product, or a comparable product, available from sources in the United States?
3. Is this product, or a comparable product, available from sources in third countries?
4. Explanation of your attempts to source this product from the United States or third countries.
5. Whether the Chinese-origin product of concern is sold as a final product or an input used in the production of a final product or products.
6. Explanation of if the product of concern is strategically important or related to “Made in China 2025” or other Chinese industrial programs.

To begin the exclusion process, click here

Any questions about this issue can be directed to Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council regulatory affairs counsel, at rvanarnam@barnesrichardson.com.