Trump Allows Virus-Hit US Businesses To Defer Import Tariffs

President Trump issued an executive order Sunday night giving the Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin the authority to defer certain tariff payments due to the coronavirus crisis.

The president’s order allows Treasury to defer tariff payments “for importers suffering significant financial hardship because of COVID-19.”

According to Michael Best Strategies, the deferral does not apply to duties Trump imposed on China and the European Union using Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, steel and aluminum tariffs applied under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act and washer and solar duties under Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act. It also does not apply to anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

Secretary Mnuchin released a statement on the action, stating “Pursuant to this authority, the Treasury Department and Customs and Border Protection today are issuing a joint Temporary Interim Final Rule providing importers, who have faced a significant financial hardship due to the outbreak, with the option for a 90-day deferment period on the payment of duties, taxes, and fees.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection circulated a notice on Sunday evening saying Mnuchin would delay tariff payments for 90 days on the remaining items, beginning on Monday. “No interest will accrue for the postponed payment of such estimated duties, taxes, and fees during this 90-day postponement period. No penalty, liquidated damages, or other sanction will be imposed for the postponed payment of the deposit of estimated duties, taxes, and fees in accordance with this temporary postponement,” the CBP notice said.

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