China Product exclusion lawyers

With so much excitement revolving around US-China trade relations, it’s easy to lose track of which duties are effective when, and how they can impact your company. Our customs team has lately been getting a lot of questions from clients regarding 301 tariff rates and what they must do to secure a refund on granted product exclusions. Since the imposition of these tariffs back in 2017, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has granted more than a thousand tariff exclusions, covering thousands of individual HTS codes. Some exclusions are product specific, while others cover entire subheadings. Though it is now too late to seek an exclusion for products on lists 1 through 3, exclusion requests for List 4a can be made up to January 31, 2020.

There is actually a bit of good news for at least some who have been suffering from the added cost of these tariffs. Importers of goods that were granted exclusions are now eligible for a refund of the tariffs paid as far back as their initial implementation. In other words, you could be owed a lot of money. The catch, however, is that you need to properly ask for it. If your company has products that have been excluded, either by your own request or someone else’s, you need to consider the following and get moving:

  • Has your product actually been excluded? Keep in mind that there might be requests still pending review by USTR. You should ensure you have up-to-date information on where your goods sit regarding the tariffs.
  • Do your product entries fall within the prescribed time period for a refund? Each tariff list has its own initiation date, and product entries landed before those dates will not be eligible for refunds.
  • You need to gather entry documentation to support your refund claim. At a minimum this will include your entry summary (Form 7501), packing lists, and possibly images of the goods imported. Depending on the product itself and on the specific exclusion granted, you may need to offer more evidence to CBP to prove your entries are eligible. You will want to include as much relevant evidence as you can with the initial submission of your tariff refund request.
  • How many ports did you bring your products through? Your refund requests must be filed with their specific port of entry. If your products came in through many different ports, you will need to prepare and file a request for each port.
  • Are the entries liquidated or unliquidated? This will also affect the number of tariff refund requests you will need to consider.

With so many new taxes, tariffs, and duties regularly being implemented, it’s more important than ever that you position yourself to best protect your interests as an importer. These are times to be extra diligent about your money—even if CBP is holding it. Figure out if you are eligible for any refunds—and if so, take the necessary steps right away to secure them.

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Photo of Kylea Brown Kylea Brown

In addition to being Harris Bricken’s international trade and customs paralegal, Kylea also supports our growing immigration practice. A graduate from Central Washington University, Kylea is fluent in both English and Russian, and spent part of her undergrad studying at Vladivostok State University…

In addition to being Harris Bricken’s international trade and customs paralegal, Kylea also supports our growing immigration practice. A graduate from Central Washington University, Kylea is fluent in both English and Russian, and spent part of her undergrad studying at Vladivostok State University of Economics. After graduating, Kylea spent several years as an executive working for an international merchant, primarily in the seafood sector. Her exposure to foreign policy through her career and education developed a passion for international trade and customs. Both her rich global perspective and unique experiences have quickly defined her as a dynamic and invaluable member of the Harris Bricken team.

Photo of Fred Rocafort Fred Rocafort

Fred is a former diplomat who joined Harris Bricken after more than a decade of international legal experience, primarily in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. His wide range of experience includes starting and operating his own business in Asia, working as an in-house counsel…

Fred is a former diplomat who joined Harris Bricken after more than a decade of international legal experience, primarily in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. His wide range of experience includes starting and operating his own business in Asia, working as an in-house counsel for a Hong Kong-based multinational, as well as many years as a State Department official, providing a client-centric perspective to his legal work.

Fred began his career overseas as a U.S. vice-consul in Guangzhou, China, adjudicating thousands of visa applications and advocating for fairer treatment of American companies and citizens in China and for stronger anti-counterfeiting enforcement. After entering the private sector, Fred worked at a Shanghai law firm as a foreign legal advisor and later joined one of the oldest American law firms in China. He also led the legal team at a Hong Kong-based brand protection consultancy, spending most of his time out in the field, protecting clients against counterfeiters and fraudsters from Binh Duong to Buenos Aires.

Fred is an ardent supporter of FC Barcelona—and would be even in the absence of Catalan forebears who immigrated to Puerto Rico in the mid-1800s. An avid explorer of Hong Kong’s countryside, he now spends much of his free time discovering the Pacific Northwest’s natural charms.