Court of International Trade (CIT) Action to Challenge China 301 Tariffs Under List 3 and List 4A

IF YOU HAVE PAID LIST 3 OR 4A TARIFFS FROM CHINA

A recently filed lawsuit may provide an opportunity for refunds of trade remedy duties. To preserve your opportunity to secure refunds, importers must file their own claims.

The deadline for filing claims is Friday, September 24. List 3 was announced in the Federal Register on 9/21/18 and took effect on 9/24/18 so the two year statue of limitations to file runs in a few days. The statute of limitations for List 4A does not run for a few months. List 4A was announced on 8/20/19 and took effect from 9/1/19–so there is plenty of time to file.

Importers must work with legal counsel to review their options and file claim(s).


An import company who has been paying trade remedy tariffs on imports from China has filed a lawsuit with the Court of International Trade. The lawsuit centers around the timing of tariffs levied on products covered by List 3 and by default List 4A. In essence, the case challenges the actions of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and asserts that Congress did not empower the executive branch to transform investigations targeting specific practices by a foreign country into broad trade wars. The case also argues that in promulgating List 3 and List 4A, the USTR failed to follow required statutory provisions.

As you consider your options, you may access your import history via GEODIS’ IRIS system or ACE. If you have any questions, please contact GEODIS Trade Service at tradeservices.ff.us@geodis.com”

The Real Scoop for you:

The suit follows on the heels of the success in getting the US court (the CIT) to uphold the importers’ challenge to the Section 232 Turkish steel tariff. See attached. That came out in late July.

The legal theory is that CIT has jurisdiction under 1581 (i) which allows for a suit to be filed within 2 years of the cause of action accruing. Challenges to Lists 1 and 2 are out of reach but that still leaves Lists 3 and 4.

If you had List 3 and List 4 entries then you could file now in one lawsuit.

Mark Neville of the ITC law firm is registered with the CIT could organize CIT filings for you. If it is going to be like the successful Harbor Maintenance Tax challenge of 25 years ago, the suit would not entail much activity at all after initial filing–it would just be a protective filing and then passivity–if success, some heavy lifting in order to show what tariffs should be refunded–could be entry-specific–and that is when the process will get more involved . Decision cannot be expected before early 2022 and it will certainly be appealed.

Court filing fee–US$400; legal fees about $2,000-3,000 for each filing (it is filing of a summons, complaint (nearly 20 pages in length) and various forms. Later fees will be at normal billing rates and will be quite minimal (if filings are required by the court) unless importers are successful and it will be necessary to provide detail showing refunds due .

Bottom line– a long shot since Sections 232 and 301 are very different statutes–but maybe worth a shot.

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