By David Lawder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said on Thursday it is seeking public comment on whether to restore tariffs on 81 Chinese medical product import categories related to the fight against COVID-19.
The trade agency said in a statement that it was extending exclusions from tariffs on the 81 products imposed by former president Donald Trump for another 75 days through May 15 to allow for comments from industry and other stakeholders.
The exclusions from 7.5% tariffs on the products, including face masks, examination gloves and hand sanitizing wipes, were due to expire on Feb. 28. The exclusions were first granted in 2020 and had been routinely extended since then as the COVID-19 pandemic wore on.
According to a Federal Register notice, USTR will open a docket for comments from Feb 6 through March 7.
The move to consider restoring the tariffs comes as USTR conducts a four-year review of the Section 301 tariffs and senior U.S. and Chinese officials have pledged to re-engage on economic issues after years of escalating tensions.