Co-Authored by Sharath Patil
Background on Section 301 Tariffs
A key element of the U.S.-China trade war, initiated under the Trump administration and continuing through Biden’s first term, was the imposition of China tariffs under Section 301. Section 301 is a mechanism via which the President can retaliate against foreign countries that violate U.S. trade agreements or engage in acts that are “unjustifiable” or “unreasonable” and burden U.S. commerce. With regard to China, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) found that China’s acts, policies, and practices related to intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce. Accordingly, a broad set of tariffs were instituted. Section 301 tariffs for goods originating from China have been so expansive that U.S. Customs revenue has nearly doubled from $41.6 billion in FY 2018 to $71.9 billion in FY 2019 and $74.4 billion in FY 2020.