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Biden Asked to Settle China Tariff Refund Case; Importers Can Preserve Right for Refunds

Published: Tuesday, June 1, 2021

U.S. importers are asking President Biden to settle litigation challenging the Section 301 tariffs on List 3 and 4A goods from China. However, importers of affected goods can still preserve their rights to possible refunds of these tariffs by joining this litigation. For more information, or assistance filing your claim, please contact ST&R attorney Chuck Crowley at or (212) 549-0134. ST&R is also hosting a complimentary webinar June 15th on “Everything You Wanted to Know About the China Section 301 Litigation but Were Afraid to Ask.” Register for that webinar here.

In a recent letter, some of the more than 6,000 companies who have challenged these tariffs in court pointed out that the tariffs “are not tough on China” but “are tough on U.S. companies, U.S. workers, and consumers who have paid these tariffs as a tax out of their own pockets.” They have also “harmed American competitiveness, delayed investments, slowed our economy, caused job losses, and disrupted livelihoods.”

Not only are the tariffs thus bad policy, the letter said, “they are also illegal.” Specifically, Congress did not empower the executive branch to transform investigations targeting specific practices by a foreign country (e.g., the Chinese intellectual property policies and practices that underlie the Section 301 tariffs) into a vast, unlimited trade war. Further, in promulgating List 3 and List 4A the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative failed to follow required statutory provisions, making those actions invalid under the Administrative Procedures Act.

If this litigation is successful, refunds of all Section 301 tariffs paid on List 3 and List 4A goods, regardless of whether an exclusion was previously available or filed, will potentially become available.

The CIT has set forth a schedule for the test case established to resolve this dispute under which the court will continue to gather information through mid-November. The plaintiffs are pushing for a faster resolution of this case given the economic harm that continued imposition of the tariffs is causing. The recent appeal to the White House to settle the case is another effort to achieve that goal, though it remains to be seen what the administration’s response will be.

Charles L. Crowley
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
New York, USA
Practice Area:
International Trade
Phone Number:
CHARLES CROWLEY is a member of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., resident in the New York office. As a nationally-recognized authority on international trade and business law, Mr. Crowley has substantial experience leading and directing global trade and customs practices. He concentrates his practice on assisting multinational corporations with a wide variety of customs and international trade activities, including international supply chain security and management, intellectual property rights, import/export process management, antidumping and countervailing duty matters, unfair trade actions and anti-corruption compliance. In addition, Mr. Crowley provides counsel to clients on customs issues such as first sale and other valuation matters, duty refunds and tax/tariff reductions, foreign-trade zones and customs audits. He also advises clients on penalty matters and brings considerable insight to these issues as a former attorney with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Regulations and Rulings and as a licensed U.S. Customs Broker in good standing since 1999.

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