Tomorrow, a formal notice from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will be published in the Federal Register announcing that, at the direction of President Trump, additional duties on a massive amount of Chinese imports, including imports of aquacultured seafood products, will be increased from 10 to 25 percent effective on Friday, May 10th.
Last September, the USTR had initially announced that these tariffs would increase to 25 percent on January 1, 2019, but this increase did not occur after the Chinese government agreed to hold negotiations.
The additional tariffs were imposed under the President’s authority pursuant to Section 301 (19 U.S.C. § 2411) and are intended to encourage the reform of the government of China’s policies that have resulted in the transfer and theft of intellectual property and technology because of restrictions and limitations placed on foreign investment in China. The USTR has announced that the increase in the additional tariff rate follows the Chinese government’s decision “to retreat from specific commitments agreed to in earlier rounds” of negotiations and the “lack of progress in discussions with China . . . .”
The USTR’s announcement means that Chinese shrimp imports of all kinds, included breaded, will be subject to an additional 25 percent tariff beginning Friday. These imports have been subject to an additional 10 percent tariff since September 24th.
Because frozen, non-breaded Chinese shrimp is largely subject to substantial antidumping duties for all but a limited number of Chinese shrimp exporters, the significant majority of China’s exports to the United States are of breaded shrimp. Breaded shrimp is not subject to antidumping duties and prior to September 24th, importers paid no duties on any breaded shrimp shipped from China. In response to the additional tariffs imposed in September, the value of our imports of Chinese shrimp has declined compared to the same period a year earlier. However, as shown in the table below, these imports continued to be significant and were roughly at the same levels they were two years ago: