Shaheen, Bipartisan Group of Senators Call for Administration to Relaunch a Comprehensive Tariff Exclusion Process

February 08, 2022

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, joined a bipartisan group of Senators led by Tom Carper (D-DE) and Rob Portman (R-OH) on a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai calling for the administration to establish a more comprehensive exclusion process for imports from China subject to tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 in order to allow more small businesses and manufacturers to access relief.

Following the expiration of the previous administration’s tariff exclusion process, the Biden administration relaunched an exclusion process in October 2021. However, this process is more narrow in scope and limited to certain products. In their letter, the Senators ask the administration to take a more comprehensive approach to ensure that American businesses and manufacturers can receive much needed relief—especially with the challenges imposed by the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We write to express our strong support for establishing a comprehensive exclusion process for U.S. manufacturers, producers, and importers to request relief from tariffs placed on products from China pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974,” wrote the Senators. “We believe that a comprehensive exclusion process that gives an opportunity for businesses affected by the tariffs to apply for limited, yet renewable, relief is a valuable component of our strategy to counter China’s unfair trade practices. In addition to easing the tariffs’ negative impacts on U.S. businesses, it would also give those businesses additional time and resources to move supply chains out of China and return manufacturing to the United States.”

In addition to Senators Shaheen, Carper and Portman, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Grassley (R-IA), Kaine (D-VA), Feinstein (D-CA), Young (R-IN), Coons (D-DE), Cassidy (R-LA), Boozman (R-AR), Wicker (R-MS), Hoeven (R-ND), Collins (R-ME), Manchin (D-WV), Blunt (R-MO), Lummis (D-WY), Tillis (R-NC), Cornyn (R-TX), Warnock (D-GA), Bennet (D-CO), Graham (R-SC), Van Hollen (D-MD), Warner (D-VA), Fischer (R-NE), Thune (R-ND), Sinema (D-AZ), Hickenlooper (D-CO), Cruz (R-TX), T. Scott (R-SC), Klobuchar (D-MN), Murray (D-WA), Burr (R-ND), Moran (R-KS), Marshall (R-KS), Smith (D-MN), Kelly (D-AZ), Barrasso (R-WY), Risch (R-ID), Blackburn (R-TN), Hagerty (R-TN) and Capito (R-WV).

The full text of the letter can be found here.

During the previous administration, Shaheen led the bipartisan push with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) that urged the Trump administration to extend exclusions from tariffs applied to goods from China under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 that were due to expire in 2020. In 2019, Shaheen and Moran sent a letter to former U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer requesting an exclusion process for the third round of tariffs applied to goods from China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Senator Shaheen and Moran’s FY2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act included report language requiring that USTR “establish an exclusion process for tariffs imposed on goods subject to Section 301 tariffs in round 3,” which USTR implemented as a result of the Senators’ efforts.

Senator Shaheen has long supported trade agreements and programs that increase opportunities and growth for New Hampshire businesses. Shaheen helped create the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) as a pilot program in 2010 to help small businesses enter new markets, access export financing and attend trade missions. The program was fully authorized by Senator Shaheen’s small business trade amendment, which was signed into law in 2016. Senator Shaheen has prioritized efforts in Congress to help small businesses boost their exports. Shaheen was also the first New Hampshire Governor to lead trade missions outside of North America.