Last week, a vinyl tile supplier filed suit in the Court of International Trade against the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seeking an invalidation of the Section 301 duties paid on goods subject to lists 3 and 4a from China.
Importers who have been paying Section 301 duties from those lists are strongly encouraged to file before the CIT themselves but must move quickly because the deadline for filing is this Friday, September 18th.
The case hinges on the importer’s interpretation of the law of Section 301 of the Tariff Act. In their suit, they make two claims. First, the USTR is time-barred because any additional duties would have to be imposed within the first twelve months of the finding. Second, the Act requires that actions taken be taken consistent with the finding which was IPR violation. Lists 3 and 4a, they contend, were driven by retaliatory duties imposed by China and are not a valid reason to have added two lists and $500 billion worth of additional imports from the country.
The importer is seeking a refund of all duties paid on Section 301 List 3 and List 4a retroactively and moving forward.
Unlike a class action lawsuit where a party may join an existing suit, each importer seeking relief must file before the Court on their behalf.
We strongly encourage importers of goods on these lists to speak with their Customs counsel about filing to protect their rights. If your company does not have Customs counsel of record, we would be happy to offer our recommendations.
Again, the deadline for filing at the CIT is Friday, September 18th. This is one of those “act now” issues and we’re happy to provide additional information if you need.