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US drops container tariff

Intermodal containers from China have been removed from a list of 284 product lines that will be subject to a 25% tariff when exported to the US.

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This week the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a final list of approximately $16 billion worth of imports from China that will be subject to a 25% additional tariff when entering the US.


The USTR stated: “The list contains 279 of the original 284 tariff lines that were on a proposed list announced on June 15. Changes to the proposed list were made after USTR and the interagency Section 301 Committee sought and received written comments and testimony during a two-day public hearing last month. Customs and Border Protection will begin to collect the additional duties on the Chinese imports on August 23”.


As reported by WorldCargo News at the time, the initial list included Code 8609.00.00, which is “Containers (including containers for transport of liquids) specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport.”

There is no doubt, and a long list of classification rulings, holding that HTS 8609.00.00 applies to intermodal containers of various sizes, reefer containers, folding containers, intermediate bulk containers, flexitanks and even lashing gear. This includes the 53ft containers that are the mainstay of the North American domestic intermodal system.


As far as can be ascertained, there is no US manufacturer currently producing domestic 53’ containers. Tariff Code HTS 8609.00.00 is one of the five product lines that has been dropped from the revised list just released, so there will be no tariff on Chinese made containers imported into the US.


This will come as a relief to companies like JB Hunt and Hub Group, which had been purchasing large numbers of intermodal containers, as well as container manufacturers in China. It also removes a problem for Orbcomm, which has an agreement for installing its tracking devices on containers made by CIMC at its facilities in China, before they are shipped to the US, which increases the value of the containers that would have been subject to a tariff.

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