Greg Papandrew

Government-imposed inflation hurts the overall domestic market.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is considering whether to reinstate Section 301 tariff exclusions that expired late last year on certain Chinese-origin products, including some printed circuit boards.

If granted, the exemption will pertain – as it did before – only to 2- and 4-layer rigid PCBs made of epoxy-glass. The tariff will continue to apply to single-sided and higher-layer counts, flex circuits, and other substrates such as aluminum or ceramic.

While 2- and 4-layer boards represent only a narrow portion of the PCBs manufactured in China, an exemption continuance will provide some relief to many OEM and EMS companies struggling with supply chain challenges.

The tariff aims to encourage “reshoring” by making domestic PCB manufacturing more appealing.

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