U.S. To Hold Off Implementation of China 201 List 4 Tariffs; China and U.S. to Resume Trade Negotiations

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—As the Group of 20 Nations (“G20”) Summit concluded on June 29, President Trump announced that the U.S. would hold off at this time from assessing additional customs duties on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports. Instead, the U.S. and China agreed to restart talks toward achieving a negotiated settlement to the ongoing trade war between the two countries. In addition, President Trump announced at the G20 that the ban imposed last month by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Chinese tech giant Huawei would be lifted so that U.S. companies can continue to sell to it, a significant concession to China.

In a communication to its members over the weekend, The Vision Council's government and regulatory affairs team noted, "The announced truce is important to most members of The Vision Council, who have been watching anxiously as the fourth tranche of tariff numbers scheduled to be subjected to additional customs duties under section 301 of the U.S. trade laws has worked its way through the administrative rulemaking process. Simply stated, the expected additional tariff, possibly up to 25 percent, that would be assessed on Chinese origin spectacle lenses, spectacle frames, sunglasses, reading glasses, eyeglasses, safety eyewear, goggles, and many low vision devices that were included on list 4 of the China 301 duties has been postponed indefinitely while the two countries resume talks.

"This means, however, that President Trump can revisit list 4 at a time in the future if he believes that talks have broken down, a situation that happened this past March. It is likely that the ongoing rulemaking for list 4 will be completed and the final list published in the future, but not implemented. The Vision Council has participated in this rulemaking process, by submitting written comments opposing additional duties on Chinese origin optical products, testifying to this effect at the China 301 public hearings, and organizing an ad hoc group of trade associations consisting of The Vision Council, The American Academy of Ophthalmology; the National Association of Opticians and Optometrists, the Opticians Association of America; the National Association of Vision Care Plans; OneSight; and Prevent Blindness to oppose any additional tariffs.

VMail reported on that June 20 testimony and links to others' letters posted with the USTR office.
The president’s announcement does nothing to remove the China 301 tariffs currently in effect. Members of The Vision Council impacted by those tariffs, corresponding with China 301 lists 1, 2 and 3, will continue to be assessed an additional 25 percent tariff on goods originating in China.

Any questions about this issue can be directed to Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council regulatory affairs counsel, at rvanarnam@barnesrichardson.com.