On March 10, 2021, via Federal Register Notice ( 86 FR 13785), the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that 99 medical product exclusions will be extended from March 31, 2021, to September 30, 2021. This action extends a previous USTR action which extended these exclusions from December 31, 2020, to March 31, 2020 (85 FR 85831). […]
On March 1, 2021, the Court of International Trade (CIT) denied Meyer Corporation’s claim for duty-free treatment under its attempted use of the first sale valuation and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), in Meyer Corporation, U.S. v. United States, Court No. 13-00154 (Meyer). This case sent a ripple through the trade-community as many speculate whether the decision signals an end of first sale for non-market countries.
Background on AD/CVD Investigations
Antidumping duty (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) investigations are brought jointly by the U.S. International Trade Commission (“USITC”) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”). AD investigations are triggered when a domestic industry alleges that it has been injured by competing imports of particular goods from specific countries being sold at less than a fair value. Meanwhile, CVD investigations are triggered when a domestic industry alleges that it has been injured by competing imports that are being unfairly subsidized by their governments. The domestic industry initiating the investigation is known as the petitioner while the foreign industry participating in the investigation is known as the respondent.
COVID-19’s Impact on the Global Economy
The COVID-19 pandemic has had systemic implications for nearly every facet of our lives and society. The world of international trade is certainly no exception. Businesses and governments alike have had to figure out how to continue import and export operations while accounting for the risks present in the current trading climate. Challenges that importers and exporters have faced include: 1) dramatic demand spikes for certain goods, 2) equally dramatic crashes in demand for other goods, 3) significant back-ups of inflowing shipments at key ports, 4) an increase in trade restrictions and other barriers to trade, and 5) contractions in trade volumes, just to name a few.
On October 30, 2021, Hong Kong, China requested consultations with the United States regarding U.S. measures affecting origin markings on goods imported from Hong Kong to the United States. On November 24, 2020, the United States and Hong Kong held consultations on the matter. On January 14, 2021, Hong Kong requested the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) to establish a dispute settlement panel. In response, the WTO established a dispute settlement panel on February 22, 2021.
Background on EO 13959
On November 12, 2020, President Trump issued Executive Order 13959 (“EO 13959”), Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies. EO 13959 prohibits U.S. investors from purchasing or investing in securities of companies identified by the U.S. government as Communist Chinese military companies (“CCMCs”), a designation determined by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Since former President Trump signed EO 13959, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has issued clarifying guidance and general licenses on this matter.
Biden Signs Executive Order Strengthening Buy American Laws
Buy American laws are a set of statutes, regulations, rules, and Executive Orders that require that the U.S. federal government require or provide preferences for purchasing goods produced in the United States. Buy American laws were created and continue to be amended with the intention of promoting economic and national security, stimulating economic growth, creating good jobs at decent wages, and supporting the U.S. manufacturing and defense industrial bases.
Exporting is a Privilege, Not a Right
Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions laws, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.
The United States has been increasing its efforts to combat forced labor around the world. During the Trump Administration’s final weeks, the United States not only banned the importation of Chinese Cotton, Tomatoes, among other products, but also explicitly recognized the situation in Xinjiang as a Genocide.
Importers not adequately auditing their supply chains for use of forced labor are at risk of administrative and criminal enforcement. Imported merchandise produced with forced labor is subject to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enforcement. Such enforcement includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) right to detain, exclude, and/or seize imported goods and Homeland Security Investigation’s potential criminal investigation. China is not only the United States’ number one trading partner but also happens to be the world’s biggest forced labor violator.
Background on Securing Information Technology & Communications Supply Chains