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USTR denies Aosom's requests for tariff exclusions for bike trailers

Published January 6, 2020

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The U.S. Trade Representative has denied a dozen requests from Aosom LLC for exclusions from new tariffs on various types of bike trailers from China.

The USTR has recently granted exclusions for most kids bikes, as well as for narrower categories including carbon frames, some bike computers, and some singlespeed adult bikes from China. But it has also denied some requests, including several from Trek Bicycle.

Last week the office denied 12 requests from Aosom, which sells bike trailers for kids, pets and cargo. 

"(A)fter careful consideration, your request was denied because the request failed to show that the imposition of additional duties on the particular product would cause severe economic harm to you or other U.S. interests," Joseph Barloon, the USTR's general counsel, wrote to Aosom in a response to one of the exclusion requests, dated Dec. 31.

In its request, Aosom said it had been unable to source its trailers from the U.S. or from any country other than China. "Aosom LLC has searched within the United States and 'third countries' for other available sources of the product covered by this request that are of a similar quality, have the same characteristics, and that are available in comparable quantities as the product imported from China. Aosom LLC has not been able to find manufacturers outside of China that could manufacture our products with the characteristics, price point, quality required, and in the volume currently imported by Aosom LLC from China. As China has been the major source globally for our product types, there doesnt yet exist the combination of available labor, materials, factory tooling, production capacity or transportation infrastructure to support Aosom LLC's manufacturing demands at a comparable price or scale to that currently seen from China."

It's possible the USTR will grant an exclusion request from another company that would also include at least some of the products on Aosom's requests. For example, Burley has requested an exclusion for bike trailers, which the USTR is still reviewing. 

The exclusions would have exempted importers of the trailers from the $200 billion tariff action imposed by the Trump administration in September 2018 on the so-called "List 2." The List 2 tariff started at 10% and increased to 25% in early 2019, on top of any existing tariffs. The exclusions also would have allowed importers to recover the additional tariffs they had paid since the imposition, although there currently isn't a system for refunds. The exclusions expire in August. 

The bike industry requested about 100 exclusions from the List 2 tariff. So far the USTR has granted about 30, although many are for duplicate product categories. It has denied 19 requests and is reviewing the remainder.

The USTR has received three requests for exclusion for bike-related products included in a separate tariff round, the $300 billion round that included Lists 4A and 4B. The USTR has not decided on any of the requests; the deadline to submit List 4A exclusion requests is Jan. 31.

List 4A includes bike helmets, lights, and other miscellaneous bike products; the tariff took effect in September at 15% and would be lowered to 7.5% under the Phase 1 trade agreement with China, which is set to be signed Jan. 15. 

Under the Phase 1 agreement, List 4B, which includes balance bikes but no other bike products, would not receive new tariffs.

Aosom's Elite II pet bike trailer and jog stroller.
Topics associated with this article: Tariffs

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