U.S. Extends Tariff Exclusion on China Virus Supplies 6 Months

The U.S. is extending exclusions on tariffs for face masks, cleaning supplies and other personal protective equipment from China for six months, providing protection against higher costs as the nation fights the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move affects 99 different products, according to a draft of the notice by the U.S. Trade Representative seen by Bloomberg News. The exclusions, extended in December, will now run through the end of September.

The Trump administration imposed tariffs on products from China under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, alleging intellectual property theft and forced transfer of technology from American companies. A year ago at the start of the pandemic, the U.S. granted tariff exclusions for medical supplies used in the fight against the pandemic, including items such as soaps, face masks, hospital items and lab equipment.

The Biden administration has not said whether it would maintain the tariffs for good but the White House has come under pressure from the business community and lawmakers who have asked that certain Covid-related products be excluded.

Under Trump, the U.S. and China fought a trade war that saw tariffs leveled on hundreds of billions of dollars in annual trade. President Joe Biden inherited numerous trade initiatives, including tariffs applied on about $335 billion of Chinese goods annually, and his administration is undertaking a comprehensive review of policy toward the Asian nation.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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