In September 2020, more than 6,000 plaintiffs filed lawsuits challenging the List 3 and List 4A tariffs as unlawful under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 arguing that USTR exceeded its authority when it imposed tariffs without attempting to connect them to any underlying investigation of China’s trade practices.

The court passed a judgement on 17 March regarding this matter, stating that List 3 and List 4A sanctions will remain in place. However, it has asked the US Trade Representative to comply with the APA requirement for “reasoned response to comments submitted during the rulemaking proceedings.”

The plaintiffs argued that:

  • USTR exceeded its statutory authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it shared List 3 and List 4A
  • The substantive adequacy of USTR’s response to certain comments
  • The extent that USTR’s Remand Results constitute impermissible post hoc reasoning

Based on the several rounds of discussions and general air regarding the matter, the US apparel industry has had mixed views on the China 301 Tariffs for US imports and its handling to date.

In October 2022, when USTR announced the next steps of its four-year review on the Section 301 tariffs against China, following requests for continuation from the US’ domestic industries, the US apparel industry was oscillating between opposing views on the public comment part of the process.

Following this, the US apparel, footwear and retail sectors were at loggerheads with the textile industry over the impact of Section 301 tariffs which experts suggested were unlikely to be lifted by the Biden Administration as China and the US continued their power struggle.

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