Thursday, March 11, 2021

USTR Seeks Comments on Origin Marking Requirement (Hong Kong, China)

On March 11, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (86 FR 13960) WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding United States--Origin Marking Requirement (Hong Kong, China).

On October 30, 2020, Hong Kong, China, requested consultations with the United States concerning certain measures affecting marks of origin with respect to imported goods produced in Hong Kong, China. You can find the consultation request at in a document designated as WT/DS597/1. The United States and Hong Kong, China, held consultations on November 24, 2020. On January 14, 2021, Hong Kong, China, made its request to the WTO to establish a WTO dispute settlement panel. On February 22, 2021, the WTO established a dispute settlement panel to examine Hong Kong, China's complaint.

Hong Kong, China's panel request appears to concern measures that goods produced in Hong Kong, China, be marked to indicate that their origin is in "China" rather than "Hong Kong". These measures include Executive Order 13936 on Hong Kong Normalization, which suspends the application of Section 201(a) of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5721(a)) to Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1304), among other statutes; Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930; Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134); Section 201(a) of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992; and Country of Origin Marking of Products of Hong Kong, 85 FR 48551 (August 11, 2020). Hong Kong, China alleges that these measures are inconsistent with Articles I:1, IX:1, X:3(a) of the WTO General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994; Articles 2(c), (d), and (e) of the WTO Agreement on Rules of Origin; and Article 2.1 of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

USTR invites written comments concerning the issues raised in this dispute.

Although USTR will accept any comments during the course of the dispute settlement proceedings, you should submit your comment on or before April 12, 2021 to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.

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