On March 25, 2019, the US Trade Representative (USTR) will publish in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. USTR-2020-0014] requesting public comments on possible further modifications to remove duties from additional medical-care products needed to address the COVID-19 outbreak.
Section 301 duties have been imposed in four tranches. For each tranche, USTR established a process by which US stakeholders could request exclusion of particular products classified within an eight-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheading covered by the action. The exclusion processes for tranches 3 and 4 are still in process, and are not affected by this notice.
Throughout the exclusion process, USTR assessed medical necessity in granting exclusions, consistent with its published criteria. In addition, the U.S. Trade Representative, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), prioritized the review of exclusion requests addressed to medical-care products related to the US response to COVID-19, and granted approximately 200 separate exclusions on March 5, 2020. See 85 FR 13970 (March 10, 2020), 85 FR 15015 (March 16, 2020), and 85 FR 15244 (March 17, 2020). The exclusions covered personal protective equipment products and other medical-care related products.
Comments may be submitted regarding any product covered by the action in the investigation, regardless of whether the product is subject to a pending or denied exclusion request.
In order to facilitate timely consideration of possible modifications, commenters should define the product of concern as precisely as possible. All comments must include the following information, to the extent possible: the ten-digit subheading of the HTSUS applicable to the product, and the identity of the particular product in terms of its functionality and physical characteristics (e.g., dimensions, material composition, or other characteristics). Commenters may provide information concerning the producer, importer, ultimate consumer, or trademarks or tradenames, but this is less helpful.
The docket for comments will remain open at least until June 25, 2020, and may be extended as appropriate. To facilitate timely consideration of possible modifications, interested parties should submit comments as promptly as possible. To be assured of consideration, any responses to comments should be submitted within three business days after a comment is posted in the docket