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US extends tariff exclusions on some Chinese categories till May 31

FILE PHOTO: U.S. and Chinese flags are set up before a meeting between U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Saturday, July 8, 2023. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS/

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The office of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday announced a further extension of China “Section 301” tariff exclusions on 352 Chinese import and 77 COVID-19-related categories till May 31, 2024.

THE TAKE

The administration of former President Donald Trump used Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a statute aimed at combating trade partners’ unfair practices, to launch the China tariffs in 2018 and 2019.

The import tariff exclusions include industrial components such as pumps and electric motors, some car parts and chemicals, bicycles and vacuum cleaners. The COVID-related exclusions include medical products like face masks, examination gloves and hand sanitizing wipes.

WHAT’S NEXT

The exclusions were previously scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. The extension till May 31 will allow for further consideration under a statutory four-year review, Tai’s office said in a statement.

CONTEXT

U.S. President Joe Biden has retained additional tariffs placed on a plethora of Chinese exports under the previous Trump administration and added new restrictions prohibiting the export of advanced semiconductors and the equipment to make them, citing security concerns.

Trump imposed tariffs in 2018 and 2019 on thousands of imports from China valued at some $370 billion at the time, after a “Section 301” investigation found that China was misappropriating U.S. intellectual property and coercing U.S. companies to transfer sensitive technology to do business.

China has called U.S. 301 tariffs on Chinese imports “discriminatory.”

Tariffs are only one component of strains in U.S.-China relations of late. Other contentious issues include Taiwan, spying allegations, human rights and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, China also extended tariff exemptions for some imported products from the United States until July 31, 2024, according to the Chinese finance ministry.

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