Tariff Rebate

With so much turmoil/excitement revolving around US-China trade relations, it’s easy to lose track of what duties are effective when and how they affect your company. Our customs team has lately been getting many questions what to do to secure a refund on granted 301 tariff exclusions. Since the imposition of these tarrifs 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 Tariff Lists 1, 2, and 3 product exclusion requests for products Tariff 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 with the added cost of these tariffs against Chinese products. Those with products that were granted exclusions are now eligible for a refund of the tariffs paid as far back as the initial implementation of the tariffs. In other words, you could be owed a lot of money, but to get it, you need to properly ask for it. So, if your company has products that have been excluded, either by your own request or by someone else’s, you need to consider the following and you need to 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 product sits regarding the tariffs.
  • Do your product entries come within the prescribed time period for a refund? Each tariff list had its own initiation date and product entries landed before thooose dates will not be eligible for this refund.
  • You need to gather entry documentation to support your refund claim. This will typically include your entry summary, packing lists, images of the goods imported, and more. Depending on the product itself and on the specific exclusion granted you may need to offer more evidence to Customs to prove your entries are eligible. You will want to present 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 refunds must be sought from the individual port of entry so if your products came in through many different ports, you will need to prepare and file many different tariff refund requests.
  • Are the entries liquidated or unliquidated? This will also affect the number of tariff refund requests you will need to consider.

With the United States in the habit of implementing so many new taxes, tariffs, and duties, it’s more important than ever that you position your coompany to best protect its interests as an importer. Part of that will be figuring out whether you are eligible for a tariff refund and if you are, taking the right actions to secure it.

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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.

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.