Challenge Filed on Section 301 List 3 Tariffs

Challenge Filed On Section 301 List 3 Tariffs

In a recent court filing on 9/10/20, a group of vinyl tiling companies: (HMTX Industries LLC, Halstead New England Corporation, and Metroflor Corporation) filed a lawsuit against the Office of The United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding Section 301 List 3 Tariffs (and potentially List 4).

In this lawsuit, the Plaintiff alleges that the USTR imposed Section 301 List 3 Tariffs inappropriately beyond the statute of limitations. In this lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks to be refunded for the 25% additional tariffs paid on imports, with interest, for payments made from the introduction of the List 3 tariffs in September 2018 through Present. This is the first challenge of its kind filed against the administration’s use of Section 301 Tariffs in the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

The complaint has alleged that:

  • USTR’s institution of List 3 tariffs violated the Trade Act of 1974 because the USTR failed to make a determination or finding that there was an unfair trade practice that required a remedy and that List 3 tariffs were instituted beyond the 12-month time limit.
  • The manner that the List 3 tariff action was implemented violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
  • The USTR failed to:
    • Provide an adequate opportunity for comments.
    • Consider relevant factors when making its decision (ex: no analysis of increased burden on U.S. commerce from unfair trade practices).
    • Connect facts to the choices made by not explaining how the comments received by USTR came to shape the final implementation of List 3.

This lawsuit could have huge implications for importers with 301 duties on lists 3 and 4A since it could result in a refund of duties paid if successful. Because of the narrow window in which to file a similar action (possibly ending as early as 9/21/20), importers who have been impacted by the 25% tariffs as a result of Section 301 List 3 Tariffs are urged to contact their trade attorney as soon as possible in order to potentially file a similar action. This deadline may be subject to change as this situation unfolds.

If you do not have a trade attorney or your trade attorney is unwilling to file in this case, please let us know and we will try to find a solution for you.

Customsglobal tradeImportsinternational tradelawsuitSection 301tariffTariffsUnited States Trade RepresentativeUSTR

Haley Mummert • September 17, 2020


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