Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 allows the president, in coordination with the U.S. Trade Representative, to suspend concessions under trade agreements or impose retaliatory measures where a trading partner is violating trade commitments or otherwise engaging in discriminatory or unreasonable practices that burden the commerce of the United States. Section 301 proceedings have been launched under many presidents, typically after lengthy WTO procedures or other consultations have been fruitless. Under the Trump administration, Section 301 proceedings targeted China, the European Union and Vietnam, some resulting in retaliatory duties imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars of imported merchandise. Mowry & Grimson has advised clients at every stage of 301 proceedings, including filing comments on the initial investigations, appearing at hearings, and filing requests to keep products off the retaliation lists or to seek retroactive exclusions at a later date. The firm has also counseled clients on mitigation strategies and has sought rulings from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine the appropriate application of Section 301. Mowry & Grimson is one of the leading law firms challenging the legality of Section 301 duties on certain Chinese imports, filing lawsuits at the U.S. Court of International Trade on behalf of two of the three largest plaintiffs as well as more than fifty other clients seeking refunds of Section 301 duties.
Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the President can impose import duties or take other corrective measures to address threats to the national security of the United States. Prior to the Trump administration, Section 232 last resulted in the imposition of corrective measures in 1986. Under the Trump administration there were eight Section 232 proceedings, two of which resulted in import duties on billions of dollars of steel and aluminum imports, with subsequent complicated procedures for seeking exclusions involving the Department of Commerce, U.S. Trade Representative, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Mowry & Grimson PLLC has been at the forefront in these proceedings, challenging the constitutionality of Section 232 as amicus curiae parties twice before the U.S. Supreme Court. The firm also filed the first legal challenge to the expansion of Section 232 duties to “derivative” steel products and obtained the first court-ordered injunction based on a challenge to a Presidential trade action and ultimately achieved the nullification of that action. Mowry & Grimson attorneys have also helped clients obtain exclusions from the Section 232 duties for products unavailable in the United States.
Under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, known as “safeguard” actions, the President may impose restrictions on imports of fairly traded goods for up to four years if the International Trade Commission (ITC) determines that overall U.S. imports of a product are increasing so rapidly that they are causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury to a U.S. industry. The ITC first decides whether the domestic industry has been injured, then recommends a remedy that can include increased tariffs, quotas, trade adjustment assistance or other relief. These recommendations are forwarded to the President, who then has discretion to determine what relief will be implemented. Mowry & Grimson attorneys have both the political sophistication and technical and economic know-how required to represent clients in Section 201 safeguard actions.