The Vision Council Notes That U.S.-China Trade Agreement Will Result in Tariff Reductions on Certain Optical Products

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council announced Thursday that the U.S. and China have signed a phase one trade deal that requires structural reforms to China’s economic and trade regimes. The agreement also will lead to a modification of a portion of the existing Section 301 China tariffs. This modification is “a point of interest” to association members who import Chinese-origin product, The Vision Council noted. The overall reforms will be seen in the areas of intellectual property, forced technology transfers, financial services, agriculture, and currency and financial exchanges. In addition, China has agreed to purchase substantial quantities of U.S. origin goods and services in the coming years.

As a result of the agreement and the changes to Section 301 China tariffs, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has issued a Federal Register Notice. This notice states that the present 15 percent tariff applicable to Chinese-origin goods on List 4A will be reduced to 7.5 percent for goods entered or withdrawn from consumption on or after Feb. 14, 2020.

List 4A included lenses, frames, sunglasses, readers, eyeglasses and some low vision devices. The existing 25 percent tariff assessed on products contained on Lists 1, 2, and 3, however, will remain in place, subject to future negotiations between the U.S. and China, according to the announcement.

The agreement contains another point of interest for The Vision Council’s members. China has agreed to expand trade with the U.S. by purchasing approximately $200 billion more in U.S. goods over the next two years, drawn from the following general categories: manufactured goods ($77.7 billion), agriculture goods ($32.0 billion), energy products ($52.40 billion) and services ($37.9 billion). The manufactured goods category is further subdivided into eight subgroups, one of which is “optical and medical instruments,” covering items classifiable under the following Harmonized Code tariff headings: 9002, 9003, 9011, 9012, 9018, 9019, 9020, 9021 and 9022, according to the announcement.

Thus, The Vision Council noted that its members may have new opportunities to sell these U.S.-made products into China.

Members who have questions about this issue can contact Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council’s regulatory affairs counsel, at rvanarnam@barnesrichardson.com.