Import Tariff Situation - Do's and Don'ts

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Import Tariff Situation - Do's and Don'ts

Author: JSC Compliance

05-Sep-18

Import Tariff Situation - Do's and Don'ts

Re-Cap of U.S. Import Tariff Situation - Do's and Don'ts

Given the whirlwind of activity surrounding U.S. Import Tariffs we thought it might be beneficial to provide a brief review of the highlights which have occurred and what the short term future looks like, along with some suggestions for importers to consider.

March 23, 2018 - U.S. Import tariffs (for national security reasons) on steel and aluminum take effect. EU exempted followed by agreement to defer implementation pending negotiations. Other exemption, exclusion or quota agreements reached with Australia, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil. Materials from Canada and Mexico also are impacted and U.S. opens negotiations to modify NAFTA.

April, May, June - retaliatory tariffs against U.S. goods are implemented by various countries and rhetoric escalates. U.S. turns focus to China in effort to change Chinese unfair trade practices related to handling of technology, intellectual property and innovations. U.S. announces plans to review and implement tariffs on a wider range of products from China amounting to $50 billions of imports last year.

           -  July 6, 2018 - List 1 products - 25% tariffs implemented on $34 billion of imports
           -  August 23, 2018 -List 2 products - tariffs implemented on $16 billion

July 11th - List 3 products covering 6,000 tariff items amounting to $200 billion worth of imports from China start being reviewed. This even broader spectrum of products includes seafood, many other food products and ingredients, cosmetics, fabrics, metals, furniture, papers, tires, vehicle parts and many others. Public hearings on these products concluded last week and comments can still be submitted for consideration up to September 6, 2018.

After tariffs are implemented the practice has been to allow requests to exclude particular products for up to 90 days. Exclusion requests for List 1 products will be accepted up to October 1st. Procedures and time limitations for Lists 2 and 3 are expected to be similar. Decisions on tariffs for list 3 products (10% to 25% have been indicated) are expected in late September for implementation shortly thereafter.

Things You can Do:

  • Review your HTS codes to determine if your products are impacted
  • Engage an expert to review your products to confirm they are properly classified
  • Assess customer contracts to determine if escalation of pricing is allowed due to government tariff increases. Consider adding such clauses in the future if not already there
  • Assess contracts with your suppliers to determine if pricing can be adjusted due to tariff increases
  • Investigate alternative sources of supply or processing locations
  • Consider whether your customs import bond needs to be increased to cover additional duty liability. Don't wait for CBP to issue an insufficient bond notice that could disrupt your supply chain
  • Consider requesting exclusions from new tariffs but understand that there is strict criteria and questions to be addressed, such as, is there a domestic supplier or alternative foreign supplier to source from

Things You Should NOT Do:

  • Do not transship goods through another country to evade tariffs. Country of origin is the determining factor
  • Do not take liberal interpretations to classify products to avoid tariffs
  • Do not change classifications without consulting a professional and/or obtaining a binding ruling from Customs

Customs and Border Protection import specialists have been given guidance to scrutinize tariff changes or any attempts to improperly evade tariffs.

These are trying times that are complicating already complicated supply chains and international trading. Retaliatory tariffs are impacting U.S. exports as well. We will do our best to keep you informed and please let us know if we can be of assistance to help you navigate some of these Do's and Don'ts.