Yesterday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“USITC”) released a report on imports of products known to be related to the response to COVID-19. The report was requested by Congressman Richard E. Neal, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance in early April.

Relying on lists compiled by the World Customs Organization (“WCO”), the World Health Organization (“WHO”), World Trade Organization (“WTO”), and input from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Industry and Analysis division of the International Trade Administration and other government agencies, the USITC identified 112 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) 10-digit statistical reporting numbers as partially or wholly relevant to the response. The 112 statistical reporting numbers were grouped into the following eight categories:

  1. COVID-19 test kits/testing instruments;
  2. Personal protective equipment (PPE);
  3. Disinfectants and sterilization products;
  4. Oxygen therapy equipment and pulse oximeters;
  5. Medical imaging, diagnostic, and other equipment;
  6. Non-PPE medical consumables and hospital supplies;
  7. Medicines (pharmaceuticals); and
  8. An “other” category that includes transportation for patients, mobile clinics, and furniture used in a healthcare setting.
Of the 112 relevant statistical reporting numbers, 36 are currently subject to normal duties, 39 are subject to 25 percent Section 301 tariffs on imports from China, and 16 are subject to 7.5 percent Section 301 tariffs on imports from China. Notably, the report did not identify whether antidumping or countervailing duties were applicable to the categories or products identified.

On the heals of the USITC’s release of its report, Congressman Neal called for President Trump to suspend “all tariffs” for 90-days on the items identified in the USITC’s report as related to the response to COVID-19. Congressman Neal also urged President Trump to take measures necessary to increase domestic production of these essential items.

Congressman Neal also acknowledged that the United States Trade Representative’s request for comments on the possibility of removing the application of China Section 301 tariffs on certain medical care products. The Congressman noted, however, that this process will take time – as the comment period will remain open until at least June 25, 2020 – and that several items identified by the USITC are imported from countries other than China and are subject to normal duties regardless of origin.

A copy of the USITC’s report is available for download on the agency’s website under publication number 5047 – COVID-19 Related Goods: U.S. Imports and Tariffs, Inv. 332-576. The report identifies all 112 10-digit statistical reporting numbers subject to the report.

A press release concerning Congressman Neal’s call for a 90-day suspension of tariffs is available here and the Congressman’s complete analysis of the report is available here.

Tags: COVID-19