With so much turmoil/excitement revolving around US-China trade relations, it’s easy to lose track of what duties are effective when and how they affect your company. Our customs team has lately been getting many questions what to do to secure a refund on granted 301 tariff exclusions. Since the imposition of these tariffs back in 2017, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) has granted more than a thousand tariff exclusions, covering thousands of individual HTS codes. Some exclusions are product specific, while others cover entire subheadings. Though it is now too late to seek an exclusion for products on Tariff Lists 1, 2, and 3 product exclusion requests for products Tariff List 4a can be made up to January 31, 2020.
There is actually a bit of good news for at least some who have been suffering with the added cost of these tariffs against Chinese products. Those with products that were granted exclusions are now eligible for a refund of the tariffs paid as far back as the initial implementation of the tariffs. In other words, you could be owed a lot of money, but to get it, you need to properly ask for it. So, if your company has products that have been excluded, either by your own request or by someone else’s, you need to consider the following and you need to get moving:
- Has your product actually been excluded? Keep in mind that there might be requests still pending review by USTR. You should ensure you have up to date information on where your product sits regarding the tariffs.
- Do your product entries come within the prescribed time period for a refund? Each tariff list had its own initiation date and product entries landed before those dates will not be eligible for this refund.
- You need to gather entry documentation to support your refund claim. This will typically include your entry summary, packing lists, images of the goods imported, and more. Depending on the product itself and on the specific exclusion granted you may need to offer more evidence to Customs to prove your entries are eligible. You will want to present as much relevant evidence as you can with the initial submission of your tariff refund request.
- How many ports did you bring your products through? Your refunds must be sought from the individual port of entry so if your products came in through many different ports, you will need to prepare and file many different tariff refund requests.
- Are the entries liquidated or unliquidated? This will also affect the number of tariff refund requests you will need to consider.
With the United States in the habit of implementing so many new taxes, tariffs, and duties, it’s more important than ever that you position your company to best protect its interests as an importer. Part of that will be figuring out whether you are eligible for a tariff refund and if you are, taking the right actions to secure it.