Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, recently announced the bipartisan, bicameral Import Tax Relief Act, which would require the Executive Branch to create an exclusion process for List 3 — and any future list — of Chinese imports subject to Section 301 tariff imposition.

Commensurate with the U.S. trade representative’s exclusion process for Lists 1 and 2, U.S. companies would also be able to apply for a refund for duties paid on imported goods subject to these tariffs that are granted an exclusion.

The bill would also set the specific criteria by which productwide exclusions must be granted. Specifically, the bill would exempt from tariff imposition those items for which there is no commercial access outside of China, items for which the tariff would increase the cost of living for low- and middle-income families in the US and items that do not directly benefit from China’s non-market-based policies.

In the House, a companion version of the Import Tax Relief Act has been introduced by Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wisconsin, and Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana.

“It is time for China’s unfair trade practices to come to an end,” said Coons. “It is vital, though, that the administration not harm our own American companies in the course of pressuring China. That’s why I’m introducing the bipartisan Import Tariff Relief Act, to require that U.S. companies be given the opportunity to apply for exclusions from tariffs on Chinese goods. If you manufacture a product here in America, you shouldn’t have your supply chain upended for this trade war.”

The first two rounds of tariffs imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 included an exclusion process — the process by which US importers can request exemption from the tariffs — but the third round, imposed on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, did not include such a process. The third tranche of tariffs was imposed on Sept. 24, 2018, pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

As of Feb. 21, U.S.-based importers have paid $12.2 billion to the government as a result of tariffs imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, more than double the $5.8 billion collected in tariffs on steel and aluminum pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Act of 1974, according to the Congressional Research Service.