CIT Assigns Section 301 China Tariff Cases to 3-Judge Panel
February 24, 2021
A three-judge Court of International Trade panel will oversee all cases tackling the legality of lists 3 and 4 Section 301 China tariffs as they pertain to U.S. customs.
Judges Mark Barnett, Claire Kelly and Jennifer Choe-Groves—the three most senior active judges on the court—were assigned to hear one of the largest mass filings in the court’s history.
With their appointment, there is optimism that adjudication will now begin on this important issue. The order came more than 18 weeks since Akin Gump’s motion for the three-judge panel.
The challenge began in September 2020 when HMTX filed a lawsuit over lists 3 and 4A Section 301 tariffs on China. That suit was then followed by thousands of copycat suits. Jasco Products was later added as party to the HMTX lawsuit. HMTX and Jasco are listed as the representative parties for the whole of the Section 301 litigation and are represented by Akin Gump, which devised the legal theory for the case. “We are pleased to see that our case has been assigned to a three-judge panel, as we requested,” said Matthew Nicely, Akin Gump lead attorney for the HMTX case. “We look forward to working with the court and the other parties to establish a briefing schedule and a mechanism for addressing the large number of related cases that were filed following our HMTX/Jasco complaint.”
The court hasn’t said whether it will use the HMTX suit as a test case for the entire litigation. All the various lawsuits argue that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative overstepped its Section 301 author ity by imposing the lists 3 and 4A tariffs as retaliatory duties against the Chinese and violated the Administrative Procedure Act by conducting tariff rulemakings that lacked transparency.