Although the Court of International Trade’s (CIT) findings that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) had authority to impose Lists 3 and 4A tariffs did hit the over 3,600 lawsuits challenging the tariffs hard, not all is lost for the importers. In the long-awaited opinion, the court ruled against the plaintiffs’ argument that the USTR could not impose Section 301 tariffs because the government was responding to retaliatory tariffs from China. However, the court sent the matter back to the USTR by ruling that the agency failed to adequately respond to comments submitted in advance of the tariffs.
The three-judge panel at the court ruled that the tariffs may remain in place—while the agency reconsiders its action pertaining to these comments. The USTR has until June 30 to return with a response to the remand.
While this is not a direct victory for the plaintiffs, it is a positive result as the CIT will now examine the USTR’s decisions to issue Lists 3 and 4A, including why it included and removed certain tariff numbers.