The Vision Council Secures China 301 Exclusions for Spectacle Frames

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published notice yesterday that it is granting exclusions from the China 301 duties for spectacle frames classifiable in subheadings 9003.11.0000 or 9003.19.0000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. By excluding both subheadings from the China 301 duties, the USTR’s decision covers spectacle frames of all materials including plastic and metal. An exclusion was also granted for safety spectacle frames of plastic that meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and are classified in subheading 9003.11.0000, according to an announcement yesterday from The Vision Council to its membership.

The Vision Council and several of its members had requested the exclusions in January 2020. Any company importing spectacle frames that conform with The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for eyewear or OSHA for safety eyewear standards, benefits from this exclusion and does not have to be one of the petitioning companies.

The exclusions will be applied retroactively to Sept. 1, 2019, the date that spectacle frames were first assessed China 301 duties. A process will be announced shortly for providing refunds of duties previously paid from that date forward and China 301 duties will no longer be assessed on spectacle frames. The exclusions expire on Sept.1, 2020, at which time the China 301 duties will revert. If an opportunity to seek an extension of the exclusion is available at that time, The Vision Council will provide information in a future alert.

Requests for exclusions are still pending for other optical products, including lenses, sunglasses and reading glasses. The Vision Council said it will inform members when decisions are made on those products.

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.