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Lawmakers Ask USITC to Identify Imported Products Needed for COVID-19 Response and Related Tariff and Trade Information

April 13, 2020
News Release 20-031
Inv. No. 332-576
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
Lawmakers Ask USITC to Identify Imported Products Needed for COVID-19 Response and Related Tariff and Trade Information

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today instituted an investigation that will identify imported products that may be needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide trade-related information for them, including their source countries, tariff classifications, and applicable rates of duty.

The investigation, COVID-19 Related Goods: U.S. Imports and Tariffs, was requested by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means and the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance in a letter received on April 7, 2020.

In their request letter, the Committees noted: “On March 20, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) established a process to receive and consider comments for provisional modifications to tariffs imposed on goods that may assist in the public health and clinical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the Commission’s knowledge in trade and tariff matters, we ask that the Commission provide a report to the Committees and the USTR that identifies imported goods related to the response to COVID-19, their source countries, tariff classifications, and applicable rates of duty so as to assist the Committees and USTR in proposing or taking appropriate and responsive actions.”

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide the following information for each product it identifies:

  • the 10-digit HTS code for the article;

  • its legal description;

  • general duty rate;

  • any special or additional rates of duty imposed on the article, and the dates on which the rates were imposed, and the authorities under which they were imposed;

  • whether any such duties have been suspended and, if so, the date of suspension as well how the long suspension is scheduled to last;

  • the total rate of duty imposed on such article, including any special or additional rate of duty; and

  • the major countries of origin for each such article, and the import value of each such article from each country for the years 2017-2019.

As requested, to the extent practical, the USITC will provide the electronic version of the report in a format that allows the information to be sorted by the fields listed above.  It will also include a “plain English” description or examples of products that fall within the identified HTS codes and citations to sources consulted in identifying the products.

The USITC expects to deliver its report to the Committees and the U.S. Trade Representative by April 30, 2020.  The USITC will provide updated data runs on its website through June 30, 2020, as requested.

Further information about the investigation can be found in the notice of investigation, dated April 13, 2020, which can be obtained from the USITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov).

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting report conveys the Commission’s objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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