China 301 Duties

China 301 Duties

On May 10, 2019, the Trump administration raised China 301 duties from 10 to 25 percent, impacting The Vision Council's member companies importing Chinese-origin hand-held and stand magnifiers, eyeglass cases and cleaning solutions. The increase was originally scheduled for Jan. 1, 2019 but was held in abeyance while the United States and China negotiated on trade issues. In the following days, the fourth list of tariff numbers—which could become subject to China 301 customs duties—was published in the Federal Register on May 17, 2019.

This fourth tranche includes all remaining tariff numbers not previously subjected to China 301 duties with limited exceptions, and thus captures all optical products that to date have remained outside of the trade war. Lenses, frames, sunglasses, reading glasses and low vision devices originating in China will be subject to additional duties, up to 25 percent, if this fourth tranche is implemented.

After the G20 summit concluded on June 29, President Trump announced that the United States would not assess additional customs duties on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports at this time. Instead, the United States and China agreed to restart talks toward achieving a negotiated settlement to the ongoing trade war.

The expected additional tariff of 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 the fourth list of the China 301 duties has been postponed indefinitely while the U.S. and China resume talks. This means, however, that President Trump can revisit the fourth list 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 the fourth list will be completed and the final list published in the future, but not implemented.

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 the first, second and third lists of China 301 duties will continue to be assessed an additional 25 percent tariff on goods originating in China.

For more information on the China 301 duties, please listen to The Vision Council's town hall informational sessions, which were held on May 28, 2019. The full conversations can be found here.

To review the joint comments in opposition of China 301 duties on optical products, click here.

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