Chinese 301 Tariffs

Chinese Imports 301 Tariffs

The Issue

Pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the President directed the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to conduct an investigation into China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation. On March 22, 2018, President Trump signed a memorandum announcing that the United States would take multiple steps to protect American technology and intellectual property from certain discriminatory and burdensome trade practices by China.

Our Position

The variable production line of broad parts in low volumes needed by our industry to support vehicle maintenance and repair requires a tremendously complex network of smaller sub-suppliers that does not exist in the U.S. and would be both time and cost prohibitive to replicate. As Congress and the Administration continue to develop a trade strategy with respect to China, they should ensure that American consumers and businesses are not penalized.

As USTR evaluates Section 301 tariff exclusion extensions, we request USTR to grant requests for auto parts that the industry has difficulty sourcing from other countries, for example brake rotors. Additionally, members working to re-source and re-develop supply chains have faced manufacturing challenges in other countries related to capacity issues, quality control, absence of material supply, infrastructure and logistics to product and move product.

The 25% tariff on these goods will create burdensome liquidity problems for American companies, who are already being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and ultimately can only be viewed as a pass-through tax on the cost of auto repair and maintenance.

How This Impacts You

The auto care industry depends on a global supply chain including auto parts that are sourced from or manufactured from China. Tariff exclusions that are not extended will result in an increase in the cost to source or manufacture impacted parts from China.

For product-specific questions

Contact Angela Chiang


The USTR has published four lists of imports from China that are subject to Section 301 tariffs ranging from 15% to 25%. USTR granted exclusions on certain products but most exclusions are expired. Details for each tariff list can be found in the links below:

On Dec. 13, 2019, USTR announced that the U.S. had reached a phase-one trade agreement with China in areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. The agreement also includes China's commitment to purchase U.S. goods and services.

Oct. 5, 2021 Update

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced a new targeted exclusions process for Section 301 tariffs on imports from China. The new exclusion process is limited in scope and only covers 549 exclusions that had been previously granted and extended but have now expired.

USTR is accepting comments, either in support or in opposition to reinstating an exclusion, using the comment form through the submission portal starting Oct. 12. Comments are due Dec. 1.

Additional information can be found in the links below:

USTR will evaluate the possible reinstatement of each exclusion on a case-by case basis. The focus of the evaluation will be whether, despite the imposition of additional duties beginning in September 2018, the particular product remains available only from China. In addressing this factor, commenters should address specifically:

  • Whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries.
  • Any changes in the global supply chain since September 2018 with respect to the particular product or any other relevant industry developments.
  • The efforts, if any, the importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since September 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries.
  • Domestic capacity for producing the product in the United States.

In addition, USTR will consider whether or not reinstating the exclusion will impact or result in severe economic harm to the commenter or other U.S. interests, including the impact on small businesses, employment, manufacturing output, and critical supply chains in the United States, as well as the overall impact of the exclusions on the goal of obtaining the elimination of China’s acts, policies, and practices covered in the Section 301 investigation.

At this time, USTR has not provided any indications on expanding the exclusion process for products not included on the list of 549 products.