301 Lawsuit Background

In mid-September, a coalition of importers filed a Court challenge to the USTR’s imposition of Section 301 duties on certain imports from China under Lists 3 and 4.  These duties were imposed as part of a process purportedly intended to address intellectual property abuses by China.  Specifically, this coalition has claimed that these duties were imposed contrary to law and ignored the statutory deadlines in Section 301.  Further, the coalition has argued that these duties were not imposed in response to the intellectual property violations alleged in the initiation notice, but rather were filed in response to the retaliatory tariffs enacted by China.  Accordingly, the coalition argues, such tariffs were void from the initial imposition.

Since the original coalition filed the lawsuit, over 3,500 complaints have been filed impacting more than 10,000 plaintiffs, including over a hundred of Diaz Trade Law’s clients. Due to the nature of U.S. law, if the challenge is upheld, retroactive relief will only be available to those parties that have filed a court challenge. Diaz Trade Law filed these complaints under a statute of limitations theory which dictated that any challenge must be filed within 2 years of the Government Action. To ensure consideration, a Court case should have been filed by Monday, September 21, 2020. If you have not yet filed a case, there are alternate theories which would justify a later filing date, albeit with some additional risk. If you have not yet filed an action, you should do so quickly.

Who Can Join the List 4A Lawsuit?

The government action with respect to list 4A has not yet reached the two-year limit. This action was published in the Federal Register in August of 2019. Therefore, if you have not yet filed a Section 301 refund complaint and you paid tariffs on goods in List 4A, you may still be eligible to file a complaint seeking a full refund.

When is the Deadline to File?

While, at least with respect to List 4A, you could still wait to file (technically, you’d have until August, 2021), we do not recommend this. Any cases filed in the next few weeks will still fall under the “test” case which is moving forward and would have the best chance of success. Further, if the United States should decide to settle these pending cases, if you are not a party to the lawsuit, you might lose out on the chance to participate in any settlement and would be forced to litigate the case on your own.

The pending Section 301 case could result in a large windfall, but you have to act now by joining the lawsuit. Diaz Trade Law is strategically recommending lawsuits be filed before election day. To join the lawsuit, reach out to us before November 3. For more information on joining the lawsuit, or general questions on Section 301 tariffs, contact us at info@diaztradelaw.com or 305-456-3830.