Using Duty Suspension to Eliminate or Reduce Duties

This is a reminder that companies interested in filing original petitions, or renewal petitions, for duty suspensions or reductions must do so before the close of business (5:15 EST) on December 10, 2019. If granted, a suspension would be effective for a renewable three-year period starting on January 1, 2021. Late petitions will not be accepted, and the next time this opportunity will be available will be 2024. Here is a link to the filing portal:

For those unfamiliar with this process, every three years companies can petition the U.S. International Trade Commission ("USITC"), requesting duty-free or duty-reduced treatment of specifically defined imported goods. If granted, this relief covers the regular customs duty charged on the imported good regardless of where the imported good originates. Factors considered by the USITC when making its decision include: 1) will the loss of revenue to the US exceed $500,000; 2) do US producers of similar articles exist; and 3) can US Customs and Border Protection administer the suspension or reduction. If granted, a new tariff provision is created that describes the good receiving the duty-suspension. In turn, classification under this provision is available to anyone importing the subject merchandise, not just the company which petitioned for it.

The duty suspension process is not to be confused with the China 301 List 4 exclusion mechanism, where the deadline for requesting an exclusion from those special duties is January 31, 2020. Also, the duty suspension process will not relieve an importer from paying the China 301 duties, as those special duties are not suspended or eliminated by duty suspension. The duty suspensions process addresses only the regular customs duty assessed on the imported good, regardless of where it originated.

General questions about this issue can be directed to Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council's regulatory affairs counsel, at

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