The Office of the United States Trade Representative released the proposed tariff list on Chinese products under Section 301 on April 3, 2018.  The USTR states that these tariffs are in response to China’s unfair trade practices, and when President Trump signed an executive memorandum to issue tariffs on numerous Chinese goods last week, he explained it was based on U.S. technology and intellectual property theft by China. According to USTR, the “United States will impose tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China’s policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises. These policies bolster China’s stated intention of seizing economic leadership in advanced technology as set forth in its industrial plans, such as ‘Made in China 2025.'”


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This extensive list includes around 1300 different commodities exported from China.  Many of the items are related to: aluminum and steel, machining and machinery parts related to several different industries, electronics and technology, marine equipment, aerospace, motor vehicles, healthcare, and weapons.  According to, “Many of the tariffs would target the Chinese aerospace, tech and machinery industries. Others would target medical equipment, medicine and educational material, such as bookbinding equipment.” In fact, Julia Horowitz with CNNMoney wrote an article called China tariffs: Artificial teeth, flamethrowers and other things on the list.  The article gives a brief summary of which items are among the 1300 and I definitely suggest checking it out.  Again, to view the entire list by HTS number, click here. Please note, there is no date set for these tariffs to go into effect.


China’s Response 

In response to the U.S.’s recent tariff announcement, the Chinese government has announced its own intent to impose 25% tariffs on 106 items imported from the United States, also valued at $50 billion (in 2017).

American Shipper states, “The dollar value of the Chinese goods on the USTR list captures estimated trade value for 2018, and USTR proposed the tariffs pursuant to an investigation it led under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which allows the assessment of trade remedies to counter any foreign country’s ‘unreasonable’ acts, policies and practices found to have denied U.S. companies ‘fair and equitable’ commercial treatment.”  China will announce implementation date at a later time, and “said the U.S.-proposed tariffs violate World Trade Organization rules, and threaten China’s economy and security.”  Some items included on China’s list of commodities to add a 25% tax on include: soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, beef, whiskey, tobacco, SUVs, chemicals, and plastics. “China’s threat to retaliate against those tariffs follows Beijing’s April 2 implementation of 25 percent duties on eight different imports from the U.S., including pork and pork products, as well as 15 percent duties on 120 other imports from the U.S., including fruit, in retaliation against generally global U.S. “Section 232” tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which took effect March 23.” [American Shipper] Please note again, there is no date set for these tariffs to go into effect either.

Did you know that the United States imports more products from China than any other country in the world?  The United States imported $505 billion from China in 2017, while only exporting $130 billion to China in 2017.  Vanessa Yurkevich with CNNMoney created an informative video on U.S.-China trade which shows you just how much Americans currently rely on Chinese goods.

Submit Comments

The USTR will be accepting public written comments on the proposed product list.  View dates below:

April 23 – due date for filing requests and summaries of expected testimony at hearing
May 11 – last date to submit written comments
May 15 – USTR interagency hearing
May 22 – due date for post-hearing rebuttal submission

To view all details about submitting comments, click here.