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An Introduction to Safeguard Investigations

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 6, 2021 0 comments

What is Section 201 ?

Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 provides import relief measures (also known as Safeguards) for domestic industries. The measures provide temporary relief for U.S. industries when competitor imports increase so significantly that they cause serious injury or threat to the domestic industry. The Safeguard measures are temporary – they allow the U.S. President to raise import duties or impose nontariff barriers on goods entering the United States for a limited period so that domestic industry is given sufficient time to adjust to the competition.

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Hong Kong’s Initiates Dispute Regarding U.S.-Origin Marking Requirement

posted by Jennifer Diaz March 12, 2021 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

What Happened

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.

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New Developments in U.S. Aluminum & Steel – Import Monitoring

posted by Jennifer Diaz December 31, 2020 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Background on Section 232 Investigations

There is significant discussion among the trade community about the future of the Section 232 aluminum and steel tariffs. Section 232 investigations, administered by the U.S. Commerce Department, are conducted to determine the imports of certain goods on national security. Historically, Section 232 investigations have been conducted regarding U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products and uranium, among other critical imports. Under the Trump administration, the Commerce Department initiated investigations of U.S. imports of aluminum and steel on April 27, 2017. The investigation resulted in an affirmative determination that such imports harm U.S. national security. The Commerce Department’s investigation reports found that:

  • The United States is the world’s largest importer of steel – with imports four times exports.
  • World steelmaking capacity is 2.4 billion metric tons, up 127% from 2000, while steel demand grew at a slower rate.
  • The recent global excess capacity is 700 million tons, almost 7 times the annual total of U.S. steel consumption. China is by far the largest producer and exporter of steel, and the largest source of excess steel capacity. Their excess capacity alone exceeds the total U.S. steel-making capacity.
  • Aluminum imports have risen to 90% of total demand for primary aluminum

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U.S.-Cuba Trade under Trump vs. Biden

posted by Jennifer Diaz December 21, 2020 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

U.S.-Cuba Trade under Trump

Since the early 1960s, the U.S. maintained a policy of economic sanctions towards Cuba. The U.S. policy sought to isolate the Cuban government. In 2014, the Obama administration significantly changed U.S. trade and economic policies towards Cuba by restoring diplomatic relations, rescinding Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terror, and permitting increased trade between the two countries. This period was known as the Cuban Thaw.

However, under President Trump’s administration, the Obama administration’s efforts to normalize relations have been rolled back. In November 2017, the Trump administration restricted financial transactions with entities controlled by the Cuban government. Furthermore, many new entities have been added to the Cuba restricted list under the Trump administration. As of 2019, the Trump administration has more or less abandoned engagement with the Cuban government, and has opted instead to increase sanctions based on Cuba’s human rights violations and its support of the Venezuelan government under Nicolas Maduro.

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USMCA Comment Opportunity – Due Dec. 31

posted by Jennifer Diaz December 15, 2020 0 comments

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

USMCA Background

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) is a free trade agreement that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) and entered into force on July 1, 2020. The USMCA enjoyed significant bipartisan support and was widely considered a successful effort at “modernizing” NAFTA.

From a labor perspective, the USMCA contains much stronger provisions than its predecessor. Rather than comprising enforceable labor provisions, NAFTA was accompanied by a labor side agreement which only listed guiding principles pertaining to workers’ rights. On the other hand, the USMCA comprises an enforceable chapter dedicated to labor containing strong provisions in favor of workers rights.

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BIS Expands Export Restrictions Targeting China’s Largest Chipmaker

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 27, 2020 4 Comments

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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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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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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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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DTL Tuned-In to the 2020 World Trade Center Miami’s International Trade Week – Check out our Recap:

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 27, 2020 0 comments

111During the weeklong series of 10 informative webinars on trade regulations, we heard TOP TIPs from numerous federal agencies, including U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Division of Southeast Imports, Miami’s CBP Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures (FP&F) Office, Miami CTPAT Field Office and more! Each webinar was produced to assist importers and exporters understand compliance and hot issues. Below are summaries of two webinars – FDA Import Operations Associated with COVID-19 Efforts and CTPAT – State of the Program / Minimum Security Criteria Updates:
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