New U.S. tariffs proposed on Chinese imports of many herb and supplement ingredients

New U.S. tariffs proposed on Chinese imports of many herb and supplement ingredients

Proposal would increase tariffs on flax, hemp seed, ginseng, mushrooms, fish oils, minerals, and more

Published: Friday, July 13, 2018

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is proposing an additional 10 percent ad valorem duty on numerous Chinese imports with an annual trade value of approximately $200 billion. The list of products of China identified by USTR as subject to this new proposed tariff includes many herbal and plant-derived substances as well as a number of other ingredients found in dietary supplements. Possibly relevant HTSUS subheadings include, among others:

  • § 0712.31 [various subheadings]: Dried mushrooms [various]
  • § 0712.90 [various subheadings]: Dried vegetables [various, including garlic, fennel, parsley, and “Dried vegetables nesoi, and mixtures of dried vegetables, whole, cut, sliced, broken or in powder, but not further prepared”]
  • § 0814.00 [various subheadings]: Citrus peel [various]
  • § 1204.00.00: Flaxseed (linseed)
  • § 1207.99.03: Other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits whether or not broken, incl niger seeds, hemp seeds and seeds nesoi
  • § 1211.20.10: Ginseng roots, fresh or dried, whether or not cut, crushed or powdered
  • § 1211.90.20: Mint leaves, crude or not manufactured, of a kind used in perfumery, in pharmacy or for insecticidal, fungicidal or similar purposes
  • § 1211.90.92: Plants, parts of plants (including seeds and fruits), used in perfumery, pharmacy, insecticidal, fungicidal or similar purposes, other, fresh or dried
  • § 1212.21.00: Seaweeds and other algae, fresh, chilled, frozen or dried, whether or not ground, fit for human consumption
  • § 1504.10-20 [various subheadings]: Fish oils and their fractions [various]
  • § 2805.12.00: Calcium [Note: Various calcium salts are listed separately, including carbonate, “natural” phosphates, etc., or assumed addressed in certain “salts and esters” listings]
  • § 2918.15.50: Salts and esters of citric acid
  • § 2918.16.50: Salts and esters of gluconic acid
  • § 3104.20.00: Potassium chloride [Note: Other potassium salts are listed separately or assumed addressed in certain “salts and esters” listings]

This new proposal by USTR is a modification to its initial action in its investigation of “the acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.” The initial action as announced in a Federal Register notice on June 20 imposed, as of July 6, an additional 25 percent ad valorem duty on a large number of Chinese imports with an annual trade value of approximately $34 billion. The June 20 notice also requested public comment on another proposed action, in the form of an additional 25 percent ad valorem duty on a separate list of products of China with an annual trade value of approximately $16 billion.

USTR’s newest proposed modification follows China’s response to the initial U.S. action, in which it imposed its own increased duties on goods of the United States (see here a report that Wisconsin ginseng farmers are already feeling the effects of China’s 15 percent tariff on U.S. ginseng). USTR is seeking public comment and will hold a public hearing on August 20-23 regarding its newly proposed duties.

“AHPA has initiated outreach to several of its members who import herbs and other supplement ingredients from China,” noted AHPA president Michael McGuffin. “Based on initial replies, it appears that numerous imported ingredients may be classified in the HTSUS subheadings identified in USTR’s proposed modification. We will continue to evaluate the potential impact of this new round of tariffs on U.S. based dietary supplement marketers and seek member and industry input as we prepare comments to USTR in this matter.”

AHPA member are encouraged to review the HTSUS subheading listed in USTR’s proposed modification and check with their import brokers to understand the potential impact of this newly proposed action.

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