India Stainless Steel Bar:  Commerce Reinstates Viraj and Venus Back Under Antidumping Duty Order

On October 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce published its preliminary determination that two Indian bar producers, Viraj Profiles Ltd. (“Viraj”) and the Venus Group (Venus Wire Industries Pvt. Ltd. and its affiliates Hindustan Inox Ltd., Precision Metals and Sieve Manufacturers (India) Pvt. Ltd.), have resumed dumping stainless steel bar into the U.S. market and that both companies should be reinstated back under the existing antidumping duty order on stainless steel bar from India.  Continue Reading

Evolution of Customs Audits and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism: ISA Members Beware!

Since the advent of the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE’s), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has moved its audit function to the Centers and is focusing on single issue audits rather than the focused assessments previously conducted by regulatory audit.

Targeted single issue audits can be misleading.  CBP typically sends an audit questionnaire covering potential issues of non-compliance.  The questionnaires are more comprehensive than the CBP cover letter accompanying them.  In addition, Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) participants, who are exempt from Focused Assessments, are not exempt from the single issue audits.  ISA members and importers considering joining the program should consider whether the increased audit function obviates some of the benefits.

In addition, CBP has announced that in 2018 it will be integrating security and trade compliance and plans on merging ISA and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program by 2019.  More on the merging of anti-terrorism initiatives and trade compliance to come.

Trudeau Turns-on NAFTA Charm-Offensive with House Ways & Means Members

As trade ministers kicked-off the fourth round of negotiations to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement in Alexandria, Virginia on October 11, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traveled to nearby Capitol Hill to meet with members of the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed-door session to discuss mutual objectives of a renegotiated agreement.

Based on news reports, Trudeau reminded the key U.S. lawmakers with jurisdiction over the nation’s trade that Canada is the United States’ largest customer.  Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)’s opening remarks acknowledged the importance of the beneficial trading relationship and recognized Canada as an important U.S. ally.  Noting, however, that even strong relationships have their challenges, the Chairman expressed a hope for progress on issues related to customs barriers, intellectual property protection and greater market access for U.S. dairy producers. Continue Reading

Importers Beware: U.S. Customs Targets Imports Made in China by North Korean Workers

The AP recently reported that North Koreans are working in China as forced labor and their products are being imported into the U.S.  The AP followed the production of seafood from Chinese facilities to U.S. retailers, but stated that there other affected product categories, including apparel and wood flooring.

While it has been known that North Korea sends workers abroad, this report is the first time the supply chain has been documented to show North Korean forced labor products entering the U.S., which is a federal crime.  It has been reported that North Korea sends tens of thousands abroad, bringing in revenue estimated at $200-$500 million per year as Kim Jong Un keeps a large percentage of the salaries.  According to the AP, the North Korean workers in China remain under constant surveillance and live in forced labor conditions. Continue Reading

Commerce Announces Preliminary Subsidy Rates on Chinese and Indian Mechanical Tubing Exports

On September 19th, the Department of Commerce announced that they will impose preliminary countervailing duties (“CVD”) on Chinese and Indian exports of cold-drawn mechanical tubing of carbon and alloy steel.  See the fact sheet here.

Commerce determined that China and India received countervailable subsidies benefiting the production of mechanical steel tubing from their respective governments.  Previously, on June 2nd, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) had unanimously determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of unfairly traded imports of cold-drawn mechanical tubing from China, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, and Switzerland that are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the governments of China and India. Continue Reading

Trump Announces Nomination of Two ITC Commissioners

On September 28, President Donald Trump announced his nomination of two Commissioners to the United States International Trade Commission.  Dennis M. Devaney of Michigan for the remainder of a nine-year term, expiring June 16, 2023 and Randolph J. Stayin of Virginia for the remainder of a nine-year term expiring June 16, 2026.

Mr. Devaney and Mr. Stayin were nominated to fill the Commissioner positions of Commissioners Kieff and Pinkert, who left the ITC earlier this year.  President Trump’s two nominations were made with the ITC operating with only four out of six Commissioners and experiencing a historically high Section 337 caseload. Continue Reading

The Paper Caper: U.S. Persons Cannot Help Foreign Subsidiaries or Affiliates with Sanctioned Country Transactions

A recent settlement agreement between the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and BD White Birch Investment LLC, a U.S.-based paper company, is an important reminder that U.S. companies cannot assist their foreign subsidiaries or affiliates with sales related to sanctioned countries.  Continue Reading

U.S. embargo on Sudan permanently lifted, but some restrictions remain

Today the State Department announced that the U.S. would permanently lift the embargo on Sudan effective October 12, 2017.  The decision comes 10 months after President Obama lifted the embargo on an interim basis pending further cooperation by Sudan on various human rights and combating terrorism. Continue Reading

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: What European Companies Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions, Export Controls, and FCPA Compliance

Join us in Brussels on November 9th, for this 2 hour seminar on what European companies need to know about U.S. sanctions, export controls, and anti-bribery compliance, co-hosted with the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.  We’ll tackle some of the most recent updates to U.S. sanctions rules, including the broad new sanctions on Russia mandated by the U.S. Congress, changes to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, new sanctions on Venezuela, and the current state of play with Iran and North Korea.  We’ll also provide an update on U.S. export control and FCPA rules and discuss how those laws interact with legal requirements in EU member states. Continue Reading

New Russia Financial Sanctions become effective November 28

OFAC announced today that the new financial sanctions on Russia will become effective on November 28, 2017.  OFAC’s amended Directive 1 and Directive 2 prohibit the extension of new debt issued on or after November 28 if the debt has a maturity of more than 14 or 60 days, respectively. 

OFAC is expected to announce the effective date for changes to Directive 4, which targets the Russian energy industry, within the next month.  The new rules were mandated by recent legislation that stepped up U.S. sanctions on Russia. 

 

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