Section 301 hearings

301 Continues: The Public Hearings

The much-dreaded trade war between China and the United States over Section 301 has been averted for now as Washington and Beijing concluded talks over the weekend. Both sides announced that a consensus has been reached, agreeing that there is a need to reduce the United States’ trade deficit in goods with China and to create a fair environment for competition between firms. However, if the negotiations break down at any point in the future, the US has completed the necessary second step of the Section 301 process to be able to impose 25% tariffs on Chinese products in the future.  From 15-17 May 2018, USTR convened hearings with Section 301 Committee members and industry players to discuss the pros and cons of the tariff plan. Over the course of 3 days, 105 individuals testified to how the tariffs would affect their companies, industries or the American economy. A prevalent sentiment among the witnesses was that the tariffs would cause “disproportionate harm” to U.S. businesses and consumers across all sectors.  This Talking Trade post unpacks these comments.