USTR to end public comment on second China tariff list July 31

FILE PHOTO: A staff member walks past U.S. and Chinese flags placed for a joint news conference by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Monday it expects to complete the public comment period for a second set of tariffs on Chinese goods on July 31, a schedule that would likely make those duties ready for activation by late August.

USTR on Friday announced the second set tariffs on 284 product lines imported from China as part of the Trump administration’s decision to implement tariffs on 818 products worth $34 billion on July 6.

In a text of a Federal Register notice posted on the USTR website, the agency said it set a due date of July 23 for written comments on the proposed tariffs, with a public hearing set to start on July 24. Post-hearing rebuttal comments are due by July 31, USTR said.

The notice is due to be published in the Federal Register this week, a USTR spokeswoman said.

The time allotted for the public comment process, just over six weeks, is comparable to the comment period for an initial China tariff list proposed on April 6. That period closed on May 22, and revisions were announced on Friday, including deletion of more than 500 product lines, including flat panel television sets.

Some revisions to the new list are possible, a senior U.S. administration official said. The new list includes semiconductors, plastics and a wide range of electronics products, including vaping devices, and annual imports from China to the United States are valued at about $16 billion.

Also on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed China’s trade practices as “predatory economics 101.”

Pompeo told a Detroit Economic Club audience: “President Trump is now working to re-shift this balance.”

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman