USTR Imposes Tariffs on Turkish Ceramic Products, Reports CTDA

Glen Ellyn, IL, June 8, 2021-The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) sent the following memo to its member companies, concerning U.S. Trade Representative tariffs on Turkish ceramic imports, set to begin in November,  

“As you may be aware, there is an ongoing dispute between Turkey and five other countries and the United States over digital services taxes imposed by their governments on American providers. Responding to an apparent lack of progress on this issue in negotiations, the U.S. Trade Representative [USTR] proposed to target multiple products imported from the six countries for additional tariffs, even though those products, such as ceramic tile, have nothing to do with the underlying dispute. This was done under Section 301 of the Tariff Act as a lever against the governments of those foreign countries in an attempt to achieve changes in their governments’ position on the DST tax issue. Over the past two years, CTDA had defeated multiple attempts to impose these tariffs on ceramic tile from countries in the European Union as part of a Section 301 investigation into unfair subsidies given by the EU to Airbus.

“In late March, the USTR published a notice listing multiple products from the six countries that were targeted for additional tariffs equal to 25 percent of the listed products’ value (similar action was taken two years ago against most products imported from China). Included on the list were eight ceramic tile import categories and one stone tile category.

“Responding to the Biden Administration’s invitation for comments on the proposed tariffs, CTDA participated vigorously in filing multiple statements in opposition to the targeting of tile, as well as my appearing in person to provide live testimony at a virtual hearing the USTR held on the merits of keeping or removing the individual products targeted for added tariffs. We were joined at the hearing by Eric Astrachan, who expressed TCNA’s strong support for the Section 301 tariffs on tile from Turkey.

“Late last week, the USTR announced the results of its review, which imposes 25 percent added tariffs on 32 of the 45 product categories from Turkey that were targeted. At the same time, the agency suspended the imposition of these added tariffs for six months during which period the USTR will attempt to resolve the underlying dispute through ongoing bilateral negotiations with the offending countries over the next six months. This means that the products that will be hit with the added tariffs will not be covered by them except for U.S. import entries posted on or after November 29, 2021.

“CTDA was able to prevail on two of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (“HTS”) product categories targeted for tile from Turkey. The two on which CTDA prevailed, and on which no additional tariffs will be imposed are:

6907.21.40 ............... Glazed ceramic tiles having surface area >=38.7cm2, , surf area in sq w/ side <7cm, of="" a="" h2o="" absorp="" coeff="" by="" wt="" 0="" 5="" p="">

6802.10.00 ............... Tiles/cubes/similar arts. of natural stone, enclosable in a sq. w/a side less than 7 cm; artificially colored granules, chippings & powder

“The tile tariff categories for tile from Turkey that will be targeted for the 25 percent added tariffs are:

6907.21.10 ............... Unglazed ceramic tiles, other than those of subheading 6907.30 and 6907.40, of H2O absorp coeff by wt <=0.5% p="">

6907.21.90 ............... Glazed ceramic tiles nesoi, of a H2O absorp coeff by wt <=0.5% p="">

6907.23.90 ............... Glazed ceramic tiles nesoi, of a H2O absorp coeff by wt >10%

6907.30.20 ............... Glazed ceramic mosaic cubes having <=3229 tiles="" per="" m2="" surf="" area="" in="" sq="" w="" side="" p="">

 6907.30.30 ............... Glazed ceramic mosaic cubes having surface area < 38.7cm2, surf area in sq w/ side < 7cm

6907.30.90 ............... Glazed ceramic mosaic cubes nesoi, o/t subheading 6907.40 6907.40.90 ............... Glazed finishing ceramics nesoi"