Lawsuit May Provide Members With an Opportunity to Recover China 301 Duties

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—A lawsuit was recently filed at the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) contesting the assessment of China 301 duties on goods found on List 3. This lawsuit is challenging the government’s authority to impose these duties under several different legal theories, and, if successful, the case should impact the duties assessed on List 4 as well, according to an update provided by The Vision Council. However, The Vision Council’s regulatory affairs counsel believes that only importers who file similar lawsuits will be positioned for recovery if this case is successful, with recovery including all China duties paid by a contesting party.

Timing is critical as the CIT case is proceeding under a jurisdiction that requires impacted companies to file within two years of when the cause of action accrued; in this case, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published imposing the List 3 duties on Sept. 21, 2018. Therefore, if you have List 3 merchandise and are interested in filing a similar lawsuit, it is recommended that you do so on or before Sept.20, 2020.

Those impacted by List 4 have more time to consider, as the two-year window for contesting those payments would not expire until on or about Aug. 19, 2021. Thus, companies impacted by List 4 can file a similar case before that date and still be timely.

Most eyewear products are on List 4, including lenses, frames, sunglasses, reading glasses and many low vision devices. However, there are a few eyewear items on List 3, including eyeglass cases and certain lens cleaning solutions and wipes. Again, those with List 3 items should be mindful of the upcoming deadline to file a lawsuit similar to the one recently filed.

Any questions about this issue can be directed to Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council’s regulatory affairs counsel, at rvanarnam@barnesrichardson.com, or to Michael Vitale, The Visions Council’s senior technical director and lens, lab and lens processing & technology division liaison, at mvitale@thevisioncouncil.org.