Let’s Talk Tariffs: Update on Section 301 Impact on Mold-Related Products

Tariffs are a tricky topic to cover and difficult to follow, so I reached out to a law firm schooled on the issues and asked for a straightforward update on where the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese-origin products stand.


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Shawn McCausland of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., an international trade, customs and export law firm, reports the following:

Numerous Chinese-origin products important to moldmakers and molders, classified in HTSUS headings 8477 to 8480 and elsewhere, are currently subject to an additional 25 percent tariffs imposed at various times throughout 2019. Importers must pay these tariffs on top of the normal tariffs that apply to these goods.

Some products were subsequently excluded from the China tariffs at the request of industry members, and most of these exclusions will remain in effect until later this year. For example, the following tariff exclusions for List 1 products are not scheduled to expire until September 19, 2020.

  • Compression-type tire molds (HTSUS 8480.71.8060)
  • Injection mold inserts (HTSUS 8477.90.8501)
  • Mold base parts, each with a length of more than 19 cm but not more than 91 cm, a width of more than 3 cm but not more than 61 cm, and a thickness of more than 2 cm but not more than 16 cm; the foregoing preconfigured with standard mill features such as drilled holes, slots, and bushings to accommodate the various pins and tube dowels necessary for the functioning of the plastic injection mold (HTSUS 8477.90.8501)
  • Mold bases, of steel, measuring 27.9 cm by 38.1 cm by 45.7 cm, each weighing 409.1 kg (HTSUS 8480.20.0000)



Companies have been requesting exclusions for certain products. It’s important to note that to qualify for an exclusion an item must be properly classified in the appropriate tariff subheading and satisfy the specific language of the exclusion. However, you can use an exclusion even if you didn’t request it as long as your goods meet these conditions. This is true for exclusions already granted as well as those still under consideration for goods on List 3 and List 4A. In addition, exclusions are retroactive, meaning you can request refunds of Section 301 tariffs you paid on excluded goods back to the date the extension was granted.

However, opportunities to get refunds have already disappeared or will soon disappear (depending on the list on which they are included) for entries of excluded goods entered soon after the tariffs were first imposed. Importers should review their actual entry liquidation data (which can be obtained through their customs brokers or through reports generated by the Automated Commercial Environment) to see if their entries of excluded goods are affected by these deadlines. If so, the only way to protect your right to a refund is to file a timely protest with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Even if you’ve obtained an exclusion that clearly covers your goods, you’ll lose the chance to claim a refund if you don’t follow the proper procedures.