Section 301 China Litigation Update – CIT Releases Important Decision

Posted on Apr 4

Article by: Rick Walker, Vice President, TradeInsights

On April 1, the Court of International Trade (CIT) issued a decision relating to the authority the United States Trade Representative (USTR) had to impose List 3 and 4A Section 301 Tariffs, which covered $200B worth of goods imported from China.

A full copy of the 71 page decision can be found here, and in it, the CIT stated (on page 53) “The USTR’s statements of basis and purpose thus indicate why the USTR deemed China’s ongoing and retaliatory conduct actionable; however, those statements fail to apprise the court how the USTR came to its decision to act and the manner in which it chose to act, taking account of the opposition and support for the increased duties and the inclusion or exclusion of particular subheadings, the concerns raised about the impact of the duties on the U.S. economy, and the potential availability of alternative courses of action, within the context of the specific direction provided by the President.”  The court remanded the matter to USTR, stating (on page 57), “Thus, Final List 3 and Final List 4 require reconsideration or further explanation regarding the USTR’s rationale for imposing the tariffs and, as necessary, the USTR’s reasons for placing products on the lists or removing products therefrom.”

In the aforementioned decision, the CIT was particularly critical of the level of detail in USTR’s responses to the importers’ concerns and input raised in the notice and comment period.

It is important to note that this decision does not mean that the case is now settled for the group of over 3600 separate litigants who filed lawsuits in the matter. The CIT panel of judges ruled that the List 3 and 4A tariffs can remain in place while the USTR reconsiders its actions related to the aforementioned comments. The USTR will have until June 30 to respond to the court’s remand.

Alexander & Co., Inc. will continue to monitor this issue and provide you with any additional updates.

Please contact your V. Alexander account team, or you may also contact our Trade Compliance team at with any questions, and you can always follow us on our website for updates on this and other topics.

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