Commercial Information Circulars
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Ref. : CR EIC 111/1/13/3
23 March 2018
Commercial Information Circular No. 293/2018
US : Proposed Additional Tariffs on Certain Products of China and other measures under Section 301 Investigation
The US President signed on 22 March 2018 a presidential memorandum directing the US Administration to take a range of actions on China in relation to the results of US's Section 301 investigation on China. The actions include, among others, instructing the US Trade Representative (USTR) to consider increasing tariffs on certain goods of China.
2.Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 allows the US President to impose tariffs or other trade restrictions to protect US industries from "unfair trade practices" of foreign countries. At the direction of the US President, the USTR initiated on 18 August 2017 an investigation to determine whether China's acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable, unjustifiable, or discriminatory and burden or restrict US commerce (aka "301 investigation").
3.Pursuant to the findings of the investigation released on 22 March 2018, the US President issued a presidential memorandum on the same day directing the US Administration to take a range of actions on China. These include, among others, directing the USTR to consider imposing 25% additional ad valorem tariffs on certain products of China. The proposed product list subject to the tariffs will include aerospace, information and communication technology, and machinery. USTR will publish a proposed list of the exact products subject to the additional tariff within 15 days of the date of the presidential memorandum. After a period of notice and comment and consultation with appropriate agencies and committees on the proposed tariff action, the USTR shall publish a final list of products and tariff increases, if any, and implement any such tariffs.
4.Apart from tariffs, the US President also directed the USTR to pursue dispute settlement in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on China's technology licensing practices; and directed the Secretary of the Treasury to use any available statutory authority to address concerns about investment in the US directed or facilitated by China in industries or technologies deemed important to the US.
5.For further details, please refer to the presidential memorandum, related press release and fact sheet by the USTR:
Presidential Memorandum on the Actions by the United States Related to the Section 301 Investigation
Section 301 fact Sheet
6.For enquiries concerning the content of this circular, please contact the undersigned at 3403 6099.
for Director-General of Trade and Industry
Note: While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the above information, the Department cannot guarantee this to be so and will not be held liable for any reliance placed on the same.