The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued Friday Federal Register notices exempting Section 301 tariffs for certain List 3 (imports from China with an annual trade value of $200 billion) and List 4 (imports from China with an annual trade value of $300 billion) products. While the Items on List 3 include several non-medical supply related exclusions, the exemptions for the medical supplies on Lists 3 and 4 are an attempt to address items that could be in short supply as the United States focuses on curbing the spread of the coronavirus. The exemptions cover five entire 10-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) subheadings and 19 specially-prepared product descriptions – a total of 114 separate exclusion requests.
The 19 specially-prepared product description exemptions for List 4 all cover medical supplies: certain bowls of molded plastics, with clips for retaining guide wires during surgical procedures; certain disposable graduated medicine dispensing cups; certain pads of foam plastics of a kind used for positioning patients during medical procedures; certain single-use sterile drapes and covers of plastics of a kind used to protect the sterile field in surgical operating rooms; certain sterile decanters of polystyrene plastics of a kind used to transfer aseptic fluids or medication to and from sterile bags, vials or glass containers; certain cold packs consisting of a single-use, instant, endothermic chemical reaction cold pack; certain disposable shoe and boot covers; certain eye compresses; certain face masks for single-use; certain gel pads; certain single-use hot packs; certain laparotomy sponges of cotton; certain patient restraint or safety straps; certain single-use blood pressure cuff sleeves; certain single-use medical masks; certain single-use stethoscope covers; certain woven gauze sponges of cotton; certain electromechanical shoe cover dispensers of steel; and certain protective articles.
These exclusions will apply from September 1, 2019, through September 1, 2020.
The five excluded HTS subheadings for List 3 include both medical and non-medical items:
- 3926.20.9050 – Articles of apparel and clothing accessories (including gloves, mittens and mitts): Gloves, mittens and mitts: Other: Other
- 4015.19.1010 – Articles of apparel and clothing accessories (including gloves, mittens and mitts), for all purposes, of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber: Gloves, mittens, mitts: Other: Seamless: Disposable
- 3923.21.0030 – Sacks and bags (including cones): Of polymers of ethylene: Reclosable, with integral extruded closure: Other
- 3923.21.0095 – Sacks and bags (including cones): Of polymers of ethylene: Reclosable, with integral extruded closure: Other: Other
- 5603.12.0090 – Nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated: Of man-made filaments: Weighing more than 25 g/m2 but not more than 70 g/m2: Other
These exclusions will apply from September 24, 2018, through August 7, 2020.
These exclusions apply to any product that satisfies the description in the annex of the Federal Register notice, regardless of whether the company using the exclusion filed the request. Each exclusion is governed by the scope of the HTS heading and the product description appearing in the annex of the exclusion notice; it is not governed by the product description set out in any particular exclusion request. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation. The USTR will continue to issue determinations on pending requests on a periodic basis.