US Customs can count 2019 as a record year. Recently Customs and Border Protection released a report that last year, aided by the new tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration, they increased the number of duties, taxes, and fees they collected by 73% from 2018 to total for more than $80.7 billion for the entire year.

This is a truly huge amount and reflects that duties and tariffs are a pressing issue for importers more than ever. These tariffs have hit nearly every industry, and the need for a broker that can help navigate through the regulations to reduce and seek refunds of these duties is paramount for any company with an international supply chain.

Far and away, the biggest hit for these duties was the 301 tariffs on products from China. In 2019 they accounted for more than $29 billion. For duties that didn’t exist on importers until halfway through the previous year, that’s a hugely impactful amount.

Section 201 duties, imposed on more targeted product categories like solar equipment and washing machines, tallied $716 million in the same time period. Steel and aluminum duties hit big as well- with more than $1.1 billion on aluminum products and $4.4 billion on steel.

A relatively smaller amount of countervailing duties was collected: only around $120 million, but this figure represented an 86% increase than the previous years. It’s possible that due to some recently imposed changes on what countries are exempt from these the amount is likely to change.

Meanwhile, more tariffs are likely on the way. As soon as this Friday we should see further information on the decision to impose additional tariffs on imports from Europe as part of the ongoing dispute regarding Airbus subsidies.

The vast majority of the new duties, totaling nearly $30 billion, are fully eligible for drawback. When tariffs on goods from Europe hit, they too will be eligible, imposed under the same section 301 justifications. The tariffs are in place for the long haul, and these numbers will only continue to get larger for the foreseeable future.

To discuss your company’s strategy on dealing with duties and pursuing refunds of them through the duty drawback program, please contact If you have any questions about how these tariffs affect your company and your ability to seek drawback refunds, please contact www.jmrodgers.com

Sincerely, James Rodgers