WASHINGTON — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has reinstated previously extended product exclusions, including for some auto parts, from U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.
The trade office on Wednesday said it has restored 352 of the 549 eligible exclusions from Section 301 tariffs levied by the Trump administration on more than $350 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The office's determination follows a request for public comment in October on whether it should restore previously extended exclusions on 549 import product categories along with consultation with other federal agencies.
Most of those product exclusions expired in 2020, and the remaining exclusions expired last year. The reinstated exclusions are retroactive to Oct. 12, 2021, and extend through Dec. 31.
The list includes several auto parts such as switches designed for use in vehicles, rearview mirrors, cooling pumps for internal combustion engines and position or speed sensors for transmissions.
The trade office said it considered several factors in its decision to reinstate some exclusions, including whether the product is available in the U.S. and any changes to the global supply chain since September 2018, when then-President Donald Trump first imposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Under the Trump administration, the U.S. trade representative denied about 46,000 — or 87 percent — of the 53,000 exclusion requests it received from 2018 to 2020, primarily for failure to show the tariffs would cause severe economic harm to the company or other U.S. interests, according to a 2021 report by the Government Accountability Office.
The U.S. trade representative also did not extend a majority of the tariff exclusions it granted, the report found. But according to U.S. trade officials, "no one factor was essential to grant or deny a request."
Several industry companies, including interiors supplier Yanfeng, top Toyota supplier Denso Corp., as well as suppliers Magna International, Robert Bosch and Lear Corp., had multiple exclusion requests denied by the Trump administration, according to a public docket.
The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents more than 1,000 auto parts makers in the U.S., had urged the Biden administration to open an exclusion process for a broader range of products.
The association told Automotive News in October that the initial list of 549 exclusions being considered did not include the wide range of motor vehicle goods that are subject to tariffs.
"We think that tariffs are a tool, but they should not be seen as the only tool to address American competitiveness," Ann Wilson, MEMA's senior vice president of government affairs, said at the time.
MEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reinstated product exclusions.