Printer Consumables Receive One-Year U.S. Tariff Exemption

In some good news for the printer industry, on September 20th, the U.S. Trade Representative published a long list of Chinese-made items imported into the United States that will no longer be subject to U.S. tariffs – including some printer consumables.

The new exemptions are the result of a product-exclusion process under which companies could appeal the imposition of U.S. tariffs on their products. The U.S. Trade Representative began these hearings in July 2018. These companies generally argued that the tariffs would cause them economic hardship and that they wouldn’t be able to source the products from anywhere else.

The exemption is good for one year, beginning on the date of the notice, which was September 20, 2019. The United States first imposed a 25-percent tariff on these products in July 2018.

Among the many items exempted are ink cartridges weighing more than 1 kg, and “printer-maintenance kits consisting of two or more replacement parts for printers.” This appears to cover ink cartridges for home and office printers/copiers, and toner and imaging drum kits for laser printers and laser copier/MFPs. Also exempted are “paper-handling assemblies.”

In the last several months, various printer makers, including Canon, Epson, HP Inc., Konica Minolta, Kyocera, and Xerox, have sought exemptions for various printer consumables and maintenance items.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently said during a press conference that while there was progress in trade talks, the United States is looking for a “complete deal” with China, and not a partial one.

Meanwhile, a 15-percent U.S. tariff on printers and copiers made in China went into effect on September 1, 2019.

In response to the U.S.-China trade war, several vendors, including Konica Minolta, Ricoh, and HP Inc., have reported they are shifting some production of U.S.-bound machines out of China into other locations, such as Thailand.

The the complete list of exempted products can be found here.

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