On March 22, 2018, in response to the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) investigation into Chinese trade practices under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the Trump Administration announced plans to 1) impose additional 25% tariffs on various Chinese imports, 2) initiate a new WTO dispute against China, and 3) limit Chinese investments into the US. These could be the most economically significant international trade actions taken by the Trump Administration to date if fully implemented. 

This case and the imminent actions only pertain to China, unlike recent US investigations and actions under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.  Additionally, unlike other trade actions taken by the Trump Administration to date, these measures follow determinations that US companies face barriers to doing business in China as opposed to determinations that US industries have been harmed by import surges.

In this advisory, we discuss Section 301 procedures, the Chinese trade practices under investigation in this case, and details of the administration’s findings and forthcoming trade actions. We also offer some thoughts on the administration’s potentially strategic use of Section 301 and options for companies concerned about the effect of additional trade and investment restrictions.  

For more information, please see our advisory.