On Saturday, December 1, 2018, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met to discuss trade relations between the two countries. Following their meeting, President Trump indicated that he would postpone increasing the tariff rate to 25% on certain Chinese goods worth up to $200 billion currently covered under Section 301 List 3. This increase was originally slated for January 1, 2019 (see our previous post here).  The 10% duties on that $200 million in goods will remain in effect, however, as will the 25% tariffs on the goods worth about $50 billion, which appear on the first and second list of additional duties. According to the White House press statement, the parties agreed to “endeavor” on a 90-day period, until March 1, 2019, to discuss the restructuring of China’s trade policies and come to an agreement.

According to the White House statement, President Xi also agreed to “negotiate immediately on forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, and cyber theft.” Additionally, late last night, President Trump tweeted that China had agreed to “reduce and remove” its 40% tariff on U.S. imported cars. There have been no official reports yet from China or the U.S. confirming or denying this tweet.

The press release from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was vague in its discussion of the meeting as there was no mention in the press release of the 90-day time frame or the tweeted statement concerning tariffs on U.S. imported cars.

There remains no exclusion process for the products included in List 3.

The announcement serves as a cease-fire of sorts, and further escalation of tariffs appears to be halted for now.   However, the underlying substantive issues will only be addressed in the weeks and months ahead.

We will continue to monitor this situation. For more information on the Section 301 tariffs on China, please contact Robert Stang,  Jeffrey NeeleyBeau Jackson, or Nithya Nagarajan.

Photo of Jeffrey Neeley Jeffrey Neeley

Jeffrey has more than 25 years of experience representing private parties in international trade remedies disputes in the U.S. and in foreign jurisdictions. He guides clients in matters including antidumping investigations, countervailing duties, subsidies, intellectual property disputes as well as related customs, export control, and other import/export issues.

Photo of Robert Stang Robert Stang

Bob focuses his practice on customs and international trade law. He brings 30 years of experience to a wide range of issues that affect inbound and outbound goods, including tariff classification, valuation, country of origin marking matters, free trade agreements, and special trade programs. He also has extensive customs compliance experience and regularly assists importers facing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) audits, penalties, seizures, redelivery notices and other agency enforcement activities. Bob works with importers and exporters proactively to achieve cost savings and structure programs that meet CBP “reasonable care” requirements. He also handles supply chain security issues, including Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) enrollment, verification and annual reviews.

Photo of Nithya Nagarajan Nithya Nagarajan

Nithya’s extensive background in U.S. trade issues spans 25 years and includes various roles in a number of federal government agencies, including the Department of Commerce Department of Justice, and the U.S. Court of International Trade. She assists clients with administrative and regulatory actions before the Department of Commerce, International Trade Commission and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and defends clients in appeals before the Court of International Trade, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, NAFTA panels and the World Trade Organization. In addition to her body of U.S. experience, Nithya is also well-versed in international trade issues in China and India.

Photo of Katherine Stubblefield Katherine Stubblefield


Katherine is an International Trade Analyst who supports clients in international trade relief and regulation matters, including antidumping investigations, countervailing duties, export controls, economic sanctions, international trade agreements and preference programs.

Photo of Turner Kim Turner Kim

Turner, who plans to pursue a juris doctorate, relishes the opportunity to dig into cases and research the relevant laws. He thrives in fast-paced environments and excels at working under pressure.