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US Exempts Fewer Chinese Goods From Trump Tariffs Than Expected

US trade representative Katherine Tai’s office said exemptions to Trump-era tariffs had been allowed to expire and the US will renew some but not all of the previous exemptions

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Photo: Denis Balibouse, Reuters.


The US government has exempted fewer categories of Chinese goods from punitive Donald Trump-era tariffs than expected, signalling a continuation of an aggressive trade policy against Beijing.

The US Trade Representative‘s office (USTR) said it has reinstated tariff exemptions for 352 product categories, well short of the 549 categories it was previously considering.

The exemptions cover a large portion of the initially estimated $370 billion worth of Chinese imports that Trump’s administration hit with so-called Section 301 tariffs, ranging from 7.5% to 25%.

Under an “exclusion process”, US parties such as importers and manufacturers could petition USTR to exempt certain products imported from China from the Section 301 tariffs.

The 352 categories announced will be exempted from extra tariffs until the end of 2022.

The list includes industrial components such as pumps and electric motors, certain car parts and chemicals, backpacks, bicycles, vacuum cleaners and other consumer goods.

The Trump administration granted more than 2,200 exclusions to the tariffs to provide relief to certain industries and retailers. Most were allowed to expire, but 549 were extended for a year. Those exemptions then expired at the end of 2020.

In October 2021 US trade representative Katherine Tai launched a review of the 549 exclusions as part of her strategy to confront China on its trade practices.

After a series of virtual meetings with her Chinese counterparts yielded little improvement in Trump’s “Phase 1” trade agreement, the office determined to reinstate the exemptions for only 352 categories.


  • Reuters, with editing by Neal McGrath

See also:

US Lawmakers Call for More Exemptions to China Tariffs

Lowering US and China Tariffs Could Ease Inflation, Yellen Says

US angry over WTO ruling that China tariffs broke trade rules


Neal McGrath

Neal McGrath is a New York-based financial journalist. Neal started his career covering the Asia-Pacific region for the Economist Intelligence Unit, then joined Asian Business magazine. He's subsequently held a variety of editorial positions covering business, economics, finance and sustainability. Neal has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and the US.


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