The Vision Council Provides an Update on China 301 Refund Process for Spectacle Frames

By
More Images

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council has been closely monitoring the refund process for spectacle frames from China that were subject to China 301 duties, as reported by VMAIL, and is encouraging all members to contact their Customs broker as soon as possible to coordinate refund efforts. On June 18, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection updated its Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system, allowing for new frame shipments to be processed without the additional China duties. Therefore, China duty should not be assessed on plastic spectacle frames of HTS 9003.11.0000 or non-plastic frames of HTS 9003.19.0000 on shipments entered on or after that day.

“If your Customs broker did not realize that ACE had been updated to exclude these products or did not realize your products now benefit from an exclusion, then let them know immediately so they can correct any wrong filings,” The Vision Council said.

The Vision Council “is recommending that its members reach out to Customs brokers using the post summary correction method to address ‘unliquidated entries.’ If you have not discussed this with your broker yet, we strongly advise you to do so. The China 301 duties on spectacle frames were first assessed on Sept. 1, 2019, meaning the period during which post summary correction can be used will start closing very shortly on post September 1 entries, as those older entries will start liquidating soon.

“This does not mean that you will be foreclosed from filing claims for duties you paid, but it will mean you will need to use the administrative protest process rather than the post summary correction method once your entries start to liquidate, which will delay your refunds,” The Vision Council said.

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer testified before Congress on June 17, during which he stated that any renewals of existing exclusions to the China 301 duties would only last until the end of 2020. The current exclusions for spectacle frames end on Sept.1, 2020; therefore, even if those exclusions are renewed, that renewal period will expire at year’s end. The likelihood of an extension beyond September 1 is unlikely, but based on Ambassador Lighthizer’s statement, even if it were extended it would be for a very short period of time, The Vision Council said.

Finally, The Vision Council previously reported than most China 301 exclusion requests for sunglasses, reading glasses and lenses had been denied by USTR, but that some were still unresolved. That is still the case today. Because the USTR has not yet acted on all the exclusion applications for these products, the possibility still exists that an exclusion could be granted, in which case all like product classified in the excluded tariff provision would benefit. The Vision Council will continue to monitor this situation and report if any of these remaining applications are successful.

Any questions about this issue can be directed to Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council’s regulatory affairs counsel, at rvanarnam@barnesrichardson.com, or to Michael Vitale, The Visions Council’s senior technical director and Lens, Lab and LPT Division Liaison, at mvitale@thevisioncouncil.org.