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  • Writer's pictureStephen Fodor

Refunds, Blank Sailings, Duty Exclusions, FDA Exceptions, and US, China Relations Amid COVID19

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

April 20, 2020

More Threats Between US and China

Two U.S. Senators recently introduced legislation titled “Holding the Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Infecting Americans Act of 2020” and this legislation is just the latest in a string of back and forth threats between the two nations. The bill would allow American citizens the right to sue the Chinese Government for “damages” caused by the COVID19 virus and should this bill pass it would cause even deeper challenges between the two nations.

Importers who have begun looking for product sources outside of China may wish to continue and even speed up those efforts. The Trump Administration has been quite vocal of late in blaming China for the COVID19 outbreak and could use trade actions to retaliate. As we have seen from the ongoing Section 301 duty actions against Chinese products this Administration does not appear hesitant to act in such a manner. Importers should weigh the risk of continued sourcing in China and decide accordingly.

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Grants Some Regulatory Exceptions for Certain Medical Products

Importers of certain medical products used to help in the fight against COVID19 “may” see the FDA loosen some of their regulatory controls over those products, however importers are urged to exercise due diligence before importing any medical products or devices. While these “loosened” regulations are allowing certain products easier access to the US market, importers have reported delays and added costs on some shipments due to FDA’s uneven enforcement of these regulations.

It is also import to note that US Customs (CBP) is actively monitoring imports of medical devices due to recent instants of the attempted import of counterfeit and/or dangerous products. Importers should expect some delays in the CBP clearance process due to this increased oversight. Working with legitimate and experienced suppliers is one step that can help importers have lower risk of problems with CBP.

Some Medical Products Excluded From Additional China Duties; Regular Duties Still Apply

The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office recently granted exclusions from the additional China duty on some medical devices. It is important to note that the regular duties applicable to the products still apply. Please contact our office for more details –

Ocean Carriers Continue to “Blank” Sailings in Order to Prop Up Container Prices

As reported a recent edition of American Shipper, carriers are “blanking” (cancelling) more sailings in order to reduce space and help maintain container prices. These blank sailings can mean that containers booked to sail are delayed at the origin point for anywhere from a few days to a week or longer. Importers should stay in close contact with their suppliers and freight agents to help ensure they are kept up to date regarding any scheduling delays.

Importers of Wood-Framed Upholstered Dining Chairs and Certain Sofas and Loveseats Eligible for Refunds of Additional China Duties

The USTR recently granted exclusions to the additional China duty (25%) on wood-framed upholstered dining chairs and certain sizes of wood-framed upholstered sofas and loveseats. These exclusions are retroactive and importers have recovered millions of dollars in duties they previously paid. You MUST ACT in order to recover any duty refunds your company may be due – contact us today for assistance –

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