Trump allows import duty deferments for COVID-19 impacted businesses

Mon 20 Apr 2020
Posted by: Ana Pintor
Trade News

Importers in the US who have suffered “significant financial hardship” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be allowed to defer payments on a range of import tariffs.

To qualify for relief, companies need to show that their gross receipts for the period during the pandemic are 60% less when compared to the same period in 2019.

Importers will also need to show their operations have been either fully or partially suspended.

The White House had already been applying tariff exemptions on key products for responding to the pandemic, including medical supplies and PPE.

Greater range

This latest reprieve applies to a wider range of sectors but does not apply to the tariffs imposed on more than $360bn of Chinese imports, anti-dumping or countervailing duties, or President Trump’s national security duties on steel and aluminium.

The measures were announced late on Sunday, the Financial Times reports.

Good news for UK exporters?

According to figures from Office of the United States Trade Representative, the US imports of goods and services from the UK in 2018 were worth $121.5 billion.

The UK is currently the USA’s seventh largest supplier of goods, totalling $60.8bn. The top import categories for 2018 include vehicles ($11bn), machinery ($9.3bn) and pharmaceuticals ($5.0bn).

At the start of March – before lockdown measures were introduced in both countries – the UK set out its objectives for a trade deal with the US, though talks have been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.

The report listed data, driverless cars, quantum technology and professional services like architecture and the law, as sectors which could blossom in the event of a trade deal.

Textiles, cars, ceramics and the creative industries were also mentioned as key areas for negotiation.