By Peter J. Cazamias, SBA Official
August 21, 2018
Recently the United States Government announced several new tariff increases. The U.S. Department of Commerce implemented tariffs on steel and aluminum imports for national security reasons. Separately, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced tariffs to combat unfair trade practices on certain Chinese goods. Additional tariffs on a larger list of goods from China are expected in the future.
Small businesses should become familiar with what imported products are impacted to make informed business decisions as tariffs could increase the total cost of certain imported goods.
What are tariffs?
Tariffs are a taxes, levies, or duties on a particular category of imports. These fees are charged as a percentage of the price of an imported good paid for by a U.S. buyer. These charges are collected by U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents at all U.S. ports of entry.
How can I obtain a tariff waiver on my foreign purchases?
U.S. businesses may request that individual imported products be excluded from the new tariff charges; and U.S. producers may also comment on why certain exclusions should be denied. The Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) have separate application procedures based on the actions taken by their organizations. Decisions are case by case and require separate individual applications for each item to be imported.
Where can I find out more information?
SBA directs small businesses to visit the following U.S. Government resources for more information, to receive answers to frequently asked questions, and to request a tariff exclusion on imported products:
- Information on Goods from China with New Additional Tariffs:
- The list of certain Chinese goods with new additional tariffs now in force can be found at the Federal Register under 83 FR 28710. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/06/20/2018-13248/notice-of-action-and-request-for-public-comment-concerning-proposed-determination-of-action-pursuant)
- USTR implemented a process by which U.S. stakeholders may request that imported products be excluded from these newly implemented duties on Chinese goods. USTR will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis.
- USTR has published on USTR.gov a request form template, Q&A, instructions on how to describe your product, and how to request an exclusion before October 9, 2018 at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/request-exclusion.
- If you have questions about the product exclusion process for tariffs found in 83 FR 28710, you may directly contact Arthur Tsao or Justin Hoffmann at 202-395–5725 at USTR.
- For questions on customs classification or how the additional duties will be assessed, please contact Traderemedy@cbp.dhs.gov (link sends e-mail).
- Information on a Second Tranche of Goods from China with Additional Tariffs of 25%:
- A list of goods with additional tariffs of 25% to be collected starting August 23, 2018 is available on the USTR.gov website under press releases. (Click here – https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2018/august/ustr-finalizes-second-tranche).
- A List of Goods from China Under Consideration for Further Tariff Actions:
- A list of Chinese goods USTR proposed additional tariffs of 10% is available at www.regulations.gov under USTR-2018-0026-0001. (Click here – https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USTR-2018-0026-0001). In light of the possible increase of this additional duty rate to 25 %, USTR has extended the public comment period until September 6, 2018 and requests to appear at a public hearing until August 13, 2018. (Click here – https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/201…)
- Information on Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Global Imports:
- The United States has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended.
- Information on the Department of Commerce exclusion application and objection process can be found on the Bureau of Industry and Security websites at https://www.bis.doc.gov/232-steel and https://www.bis.doc.gov/232-aluminum.
- Questions regarding steel exclusion requests can be addressed to the U.S. Department of Commerce at 202-482-5642 or Steel232@bis.doc.gov (link sends e-mail).
- Questions regarding aluminum exclusions requests can be directed to 202-482-4757 or Aluminum232@bis.doc.gov (link sends e-mail).
- Information on foreign government response and goods impacted can be found at https://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/tradedisputes-enforcement/retaliations/tg_ian_002094.asp
- Some impacted goods may also be subject to anti-dumping (AD) or countervailing duties (CVD) duties for unfair trade actions involving selling at less than fair value and prohibited government support. Small businesses importing goods with additional duties related to an AD/CVD investigation should be aware that the estimated AD/CVD duties paid during an investigation can increase significantly and a bill may follow after the goods clear U.S. Customs. Small businesses may direct questions on specific tariff lines and AD/CVD duties to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement & Compliance Communications at 202-482-0063.
Small business traders may also wish to explore the following SBA and interagency partner programs on trade:
- Small businesses may be eligible for cost-sharing programs under Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms to retain consultants or industry-specific experts to improve their business competitiveness: http://www.taacenters.org/ (link is external).
- NIST’s ExporTech program helps small businesses develop strategic export growth plans to enter new markets, https://www.nist.gov/exportech; and visit Export.gov to find your local U.S. Export Assistance Center and trade resources. (Click here –https://www.export.gov/Contact-Us).
- Local SBA resources can provide business, financial, and marketing counseling and mentoring to help strengthen your business, navigate trade challenges, and connect to Federal, State and Local resources including competitive STEP grants when available: www.sba.gov/local-assistance.
- SBA Trade Finance Managers can educate on SBA’s loan guarantee programs and trade finance options and what information you need to approach a bank effectively: https://www.sba.gov/article/2017/nov/01/list-useacs-sba-staff-2017.
- Monitor www.usda.gov press releases for information on USDA’s announcement available at https://www.fas.usda.gov/newsroom/usda-assists-farmers-impacted-unjustified-retaliation
SBA’s Office of International Trade believes there is no wrong door for U.S. small business traders. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail) or 855-722-4877.