In what may now look like a signature Trump reversal, the Section 301 tariffs targeting $150 B in Chinese goods have been placed on hold.

This hold relates to the Intellectual Property challenge raised by the administration, it is not about the steel and aluminum Tariffs. The tariffs placed on hold are separate from the 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tariff on aluminum imports the US began implementing March 23 as a result of Section 232 investigations into the effect of these imports on national security.

The hold is no relief for the solar industry.


A joint US China statement issued Saturday states: China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services,” though without specifying how much more it will buy


Companies had until Tuesday May 22 to file written comments in response to hearings held by the administration last week. The Treasury Secretary qualified the hold will last as long as the administration builds a “framework” of negotiations with China on trade, at the same time as the WH Econ Adviser claimed “tariffs are not over — far from it. We’re in a good talking stage and moving forward.”

While this may be interpreted as a tactical move in Sino-US negotiation, the execution of the original plan is still a live option; the hold is a tool, and it is the US Trade Representative, not the Treasury Department, who oversees the 301 probe* into Chinese IP practices which fuel the tariffs.  “the U.S. may use all of its legal tools to protect our technology through tariffs, investment restrictions and export regulations.” USTR Lighhizer said last week



*1974 Trade Act section 301 used to target China’s Intellectual Property hijacking