New U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Imports Include Lubricants

August 9, 2018

The Trump administration Office finalized earlier this week a list of approximately $16 billion worth of imports from China, including lubricants and lubricant additives, that will be subject to a 25 percent additional tariff, beginning on August 23. China already has promised to retaliate with an equivalent amount of tariffs.

This second tranche of new tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 follows tariffs imposed on some $34 billion of Chinese imports that went into effect on July 6.  The U.S. Trade Representative’s list (USTR) announced this week includes 279 products, mostly chemicals and electronic parts, and starts with eight tariff subheadings for lubricants and lubricant additives.

The Trump administration kicked off the escalating trade dispute with Beijing earlier this year, making findings under a Section 301 investigation that China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory and create a burden on U.S. commerce.

“ILMA submitted comments to the USTR, agreeing with President Trump’s complaints about Chinese practices,” said ILMA CEO Holly Alfano.  “However, the Association said that the current uncertainty from the trade fight could harm to the American economy in the long term.”

The USTR said that it will announce a process by which interested persons may request the exclusion of particular products covered by a tariff line subject to the additional duties. 

“ILMA already has told the USTR that China is the sole source for certain amines and corrosion inhibitors, and the trade dispute is creating shortages and cost increases,” Alfano noted.