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What Small Businesses Should Know About Tariffs

August 13, 2018

This post originally appeared on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Blog, SBA News and Views.

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Our friends at the Small Business Administration recently published a blog post assembling a list of resources to assist small businesses with questions about tariffs and where to find more information about what imported products are impacted. Please continue reading and make use of the resources listed to help you make the most informed business decisions.

Peter J. Cazamias serves as the Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of International Trade.

What are tariffs?

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Tariffs are a taxes, levies, or duties on a particular category of imports. These fees are charged as a percentage of the price of an imported good paid for by a U.S. buyer. These charges are collected by U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents at all U.S. ports of entry.

How can I obtain a tariff waiver on my foreign purchases?

U.S. businesses may request that individual imported products be excluded from the new tariff charges; and U.S. producers may also comment on why certain exclusions should be denied. The Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) have separate application procedures based on the actions taken by their organizations.  Decisions are case by case and require separate individual applications for each item to be imported.

Where can I find out more information?

SBA directs small businesses to visit the following U.S. Government resources for more information, to receive answers to frequently asked questions, and to request a tariff exclusion on imported products:

  • Information on a Second Tranche of Goods from China with Additional Tariffs of 25%:
    • A list of goods with additional tariffs of 25% to be collected starting August 23, 2018 is available on the USTR.gov website under press releases.  (Click here ).
  • A List of Goods from China Under Consideration for Further Tariff Actions:
    • A list of Chinese goods USTR proposed additional tariffs of 10% is available at www.regulations.gov under USTR-2018-0026-0001. (Click here). In light of the possible increase of this additional duty rate to 25 %, USTR has extended the public comment period until September 6, 2018 and requests to appear at a public hearing until August 13, 2018.  (Click Here))
  • Information on Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Global Imports:
    • The United States has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended.
    • Information on the Department of Commerce exclusion application and objection process can be found on the Bureau of Industry and Security websites at  https://www.bis.doc.gov/232-steel and https://www.bis.doc.gov/232-aluminum.
    • Questions regarding steel exclusion requests can be addressed to the U.S. Department of Commerce at 202-482-5642 or Steel232@bis.doc.gov..
    • Questions regarding aluminum exclusions requests can be directed to 202-482-4757 or Aluminum232@bis.doc.gov.
    • Information on foreign government response and goods impacted can be found here.
  • Some impacted goods may also be subject to anti-dumping (AD) or countervailing duties (CVD) duties for unfair trade actions involving selling at less than fair value and prohibited government support. Small businesses importing goods with additional duties related to an AD/CVD investigation should be aware that the estimated AD/CVD duties paid during an investigation can increase significantly and a bill may follow after the goods clear U.S. Customs.  Small businesses may direct questions on specific tariff lines and AD/CVD duties to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement & Compliance Communications at 202-482-0063.