Last year, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), as part of its Section 301 investigation of China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation, moved to exclude from additional duties certain medical-care products needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, the USTR extended certain product exclusions on medical care and/or COVID response products and announced further modifications to remove Section 301 duties from additional products in these categories. Last week, the USTR announced that it was extending COVID-19-related Section 301 exclusions for an additional six months, through September 30, 2021.

As part of its Section 301 investigation, the USTR requested public commentary on potential further modifications to remove duties from additional medical-care products to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the evolving nature of the battle against COVID-19, on December 29, the USTR announced the extension of 80 product exclusions on medical-care and/or COVID response products; further modifications in the form of 19 product exclusions to remove Section 301 duties from additional medical-care and/or COVID-response products; and that it might consider further extensions and/or modifications as appropriate.

Due to the continuing efforts to combat COVID-19, the USTR determined that it is inappropriate to allow the exclusions for the 99 products to lapse. This decision takes into account public comments previously provided and the advice of advisory committees such as the interagency Section 301 committee. As provided in the December 29 notice, the exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the product exclusion. The USTR may continue to consider further extensions and/or additional modifications as appropriate.