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President Calls for Greater Enforcement Against Counterfeit Imports

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 5, 2020 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

What Happened

On October 13, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum on stopping counterfeit trafficking on e-commerce platforms. The memorandum called for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to “impose the maximum fines and civil penalties permitted by law on any e-commerce platform that directs, assists with, or is in any way concerned in the importation into the United States of counterfeit goods.” Furthermore, the memorandum also called for:

  • CBP to continue seizing counterfeit goods imported into the United States in connection with e-commerce transactions
  • Congress to pass laws that clarify and strengthen the president’s authority and increase its resources to address e-commerce-linked counterfeit trafficking
  • The U.S. Attorney General to develop a legislative proposal to promote the policy objectives of the memorandum within 120 of its publication

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Election 2020: Trump v. Biden on Trade

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 3, 2020 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Introduction
The 2020 election is one for the record books. At the time of this writing, states have adapted at least in part to mail-in voting systems and voter turnout is booming despite the ongoing public health emergency. There’s another less obvious reason why the 2020 election is unique: it may be the first election in which U.S. trade policy has been a key issue on the debate stage. What does Trump’s record on trade look like? How do Trump and Biden’s trade platforms compare? We will discuss each of these issues, in turn.

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BIS Expands Export Restrictions Targeting China’s Largest Chipmaker

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 27, 2020 1 Comment

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry & Security (“BIS”) informed some U.S. semiconductor manufacturers via a confidential letter that they would require export licenses before exporting certain products to China’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (“SMIC”). Although the letter is not available for public view, a September 28, 2020 Wall Street Journal article that broke the story said that the Commerce Department was concerned about high risks of diversion to a military end use. This additional export license requirement is part of a broader pattern of increased export restrictions, particularly to China.

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LIST 3 Exclusion Updates

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 26, 2020 0 comments

On June 24, 2019, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) provided the public with an exclusion process for items included subjected to Section 301 Tariffs. Specifically, the exclusions related to products included on List 3, which went into effect on September 24, 2018.

Originally, List 3 imposed 10 percent ad valorem duties on 5,757 full and partial subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and had an annual trade value of $200 Billion. Months later, in May 2019, the 10 percent ad valorem duties were increased to 25 percent. Continue Reading

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List 4 Exclusion Update

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 23, 2020 0 comments

On  June 26, July 17, and August 11, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requested the public to submit comments regarding potential product exclusion extensions for items subject to Section 301 Tariffs. This comment period specifically applied to products that were included on List 4.

When the list was announced on August 20, 2019, it imposed a 10 percent ad valorem on 3,805 full and partial subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), with an annual trade value of approximately $300 billion. Then, on August 30, 2019, USTR increased the rate of the additional duty announced in the August 20 notice from 10 to 15 percent. Finally, on January 22, 2020, USTR determined to reduce the rate from 15 to 7.5 percent. Continue Reading

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Diaz Trade Law Now Filing List 4A Complaints – Join Section 301 Refund Lawsuit Now to Demand Refunds

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 22, 2020 1 Comment

301 Lawsuit Background

In mid-September, a coalition of importers filed a Court challenge to the USTR’s imposition of Section 301 duties on certain imports from China under Lists 3 and 4.  These duties were imposed as part of a process purportedly intended to address intellectual property abuses by China.  Specifically, this coalition has claimed that these duties were imposed contrary to law and ignored the statutory deadlines in Section 301.  Further, the coalition has argued that these duties were not imposed in response to the intellectual property violations alleged in the initiation notice, but rather were filed in response to the retaliatory tariffs enacted by China.  Accordingly, the coalition argues, such tariffs were void from the initial imposition.

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Maritime Industry Rocked by Cyber Attacks

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 20, 2020 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

The maritime industry has been rocked by a string of cyber-attacks in recent weeks. Two of the most severe incidents involved the United Nation’s shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”), and the French shipping company CMA GCM S.A. (“CMA GCM”). These attacks remind the shipping industry about the dangers of such attacks and the importance of cybersecurity compliance. From a trade and customs perspective, such incidents trigger post incident analysis and other measures as part of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s (“CBP”) Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Minimum Security Criteria. We will discuss two of the most severe cyber-attack incidents in recent weeks below and then discuss the trade and customs implications of such attacks.

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The U.S.-Brazil Trade Agreement is Imminent

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 15, 2020 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

On October 5, 2020, Brazil’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade and International Affairs, Yana Dumaresq, stated during an Atlantic Council online panel discussion that a U.S.-Brazil trade agreement that covers trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, and anti-corruption is in legal scrub and the text should be finalized by mid-October. “We hope to have them signed this month,” Dumaresq said. The U.S. Commerce Department’s lead negotiator on this agreement, Joseph Semsar, said that “this is a unique opportunity to get things done that seemed unattainable.” These latest developments are a result of months of negotiations between the two major economies. Trade facilitation Back in April 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) released a statement describing meetings between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and President Donald Trump and ambitious plans to strengthen trade and economies ties.

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NEW LIST 2- SECTION 301 EXTENSIONS

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 1, 2020 1 Comment

On June 25, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), requested the public to submit comments regarding potential product exclusion extensions for items subject to Section 301 Tariffs. This comment period specifically applied to products that were included on List 2, which went into effect on August 23, 2018.

List 2 imposed 25 percent additional duties on 279 eight-digit subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and had an annual trade value of $16 Billion.

On September 18, 2018, USTR provided the public with an exclusion process; then September 2019, USTR granted a number of exclusions that were set to expire on September 20, 2020. In the June 25th Notice, commenters were asked a variety of questions relating to their supply chains, such as…

whether the particular product and/or a comparable product is available from sources in the United States and/or in third countries; any changes in the global supply chain since August 2018 with respect to the particular product, or any other relevant industry developments; and efforts, if any, importers or U.S. purchasers have undertaken since August 2018 to source the product from the United States or third countries.

The June 25th announcement was made via federal register notice and stated that requests for exclusion extensions were to be submitted no later than July 30, 2020. Less than three months later, on September 22, 2020USTR announced its determination to extend certain exclusions through the end of the year. Although USTR could have extended the exclusions for up to 12 months, these exclusions are effective as of September 20, 2020, and will now expire on December 31, 2020.

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An Introduction to U.S. Trade Databases

posted by Jennifer Diaz September 25, 2020 1 Comment

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Introduction

There are many factors that U.S. exporters and importers should be conscious of in their operations – including trade and customs laws, foreign market opportunities, changes in commodity prices, and currency fluctuations – just to name a few. However, one vital consideration that exporters and importers alike often overlook is trade flows. A firm’s ability to analyze and keep a pulse on trade data pertaining to that company’s product category can provide that exporter or importer with a clear vision of what’s actually happening. This perspective can empower a firm to optimize its operations and gain an edge against competitors. For example, U.S. importers who regularly track and analyze trade data can gain an understanding of how tariff and non-tariff barriers affect imports. Similarly, U.S. exporters can track and analyze trade data to glean vital intelligence about opportunities in foreign markets. In doing so, U.S. exporters can gain an understanding of which markets their U.S. competitors are selling to and which countries demand is quickly increasing. Analyzing trade data is the first step to developing a sound import or export market strategy. However, doing so once is not enough. Importers and exporters should have a regular practice of tracking trade flow developments and restructuring operations based on what the data reveals. Such a nimble posture can truly empower businesses trading internationally.

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