Category Archives: Trade Policy

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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 … 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 … Continue Reading

Keeping Up With The Jones Act

On September 28th, the Trump administration announced the decision to temporarily waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico, effective for 10 days.  “It will go into effect immediately,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is in desperate need of food, medicine, clothing and other supplies, and … Continue Reading

U.S. Trade Negotiator Calls China “Unprecedented” Threat

On Monday September 18th, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer warned that China’s trade practices represent “a threat to the trading system that is unprecedented.”  This was his first public speech since being confirmed in May as USTR. The World Trade Organization (“WTO”) cannot “successfully manage mercantilism on this scale,” said Lighthizer at an event hosted … Continue Reading

KORUS Withdrawal Threat Opposed by Congress, Private Sector

Dissatisfied with the inability of high-level talks in August between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyung-chong to set a clear path forward on renegotiating the 2011 Korea-U.S. trade pact – and frustrated with Korean negotiators counter-request for a study of factors contributing to the U.S. bilateral goods trade deficit … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Threatens Unilateral Sanctions Against North Korea’s Trading Partners

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced Wednesday that the Trump Administration was considering sanctioning any country that continues trade with North Korea if the United Nations does not approve additional sanctions against the country.  At an emergency UN meeting in the wake of an additional North Korean nuclear test over the weekend, the U.S. proposed stricter sanctions towards the … Continue Reading

NAFTA Round 2

Negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up their second round of discussions concerning renegotiation of the NAFTA. While the negotiators expressed pleasure at the progress made, by all accounts the talks provided no new breakthroughs. Apparently, new texts in certain areas were exchanged, but no progress was made on the difficult issues … Continue Reading

U.S. Hits Venezuela and Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) with Financial Sanctions

On Friday, August 25th, the U.S. government announced new financial sanctions on Venezuela.  The move is the most recent U.S. response to the escalating political and humanitarian crisis in the country.  The new Executive Order bars U.S. persons from: Dealing in ‘new debt’ of Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, that has a … Continue Reading

USTR Lighthizer Keeps Promise, Swiftly Initiates Investigation into Potential Chinese IP Violations

Four days after President Trump signed a memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) to determine whether to initiate a Section 301 investigation of Chinese laws, policies, practices, or actions that may be harming the intellectual property rights of U.S. persons, USTR Lighthizer formally announced the initiation of an investigation on August 18, 2017. The … Continue Reading

Russia Under Scrutiny

Earlier this month, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) published a notice seeking public comment and participation in a hearing on Russia’s implementation of its obligations under the World Trade Organization (“WTO”). Public comments, summaries of hearing testimony, and requests to appear at the hearing are due on September 22, 2017.  The hearing … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Takes Steps to Identify Chinese Violations of U.S. Intellectual Property Rights

On Monday, August 14, 2017, President Trump signed a memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) to determine whether to initiate a Section 301 investigation of Chinese laws, policies, practices, or actions that may be harming the intellectual property rights of U.S. persons. In a Section 301 investigation, if the USTR determines that a Chinese … Continue Reading

Food Standard Controversies Looms Large in Potential U.S.–UK Trade Deal

With Brexit on the horizon, UK representatives are reinvigorating relationships with key trading partners on every continent.  On 24 July, UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross launched a Trade and Investment Working Group to lay the groundwork for a trade deal to be … Continue Reading

Get Your Duty-Free Here….The USTR initiates 2017 Annual GSP Review

On August 10th, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) initiated its annual review of a program that extends duty-free treatment to producers in 120 designated developing countries and examines whether certain countries are doing enough to maintain their GSP eligibility because of country practices.  More specifically, the USTR announced its initiation of the … Continue Reading

Senate Democrats Propose a “Better Deal” for American Jobs

Last week, Senate Democrats released their “Better Deal on Trade and Jobs” trade policy statement. The seven point platform is aimed at preventing outsourcing of American jobs and increasing American exports. The white paper describes the policy as putting “workers and small businesses first, ahead of corporate special interests.” It aims to “fundamentally transform” American … Continue Reading

Schumer Urges Trump to Suspend All China-Related Mergers Pending Before CFIUS to Exact Tougher Approach on North Korea

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer wants President Trump to take a stand against China for its kids-gloves response to North Korea’s nuclear missile activity by using the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to deny all pending requests involving Chinese acquisition of U.S. companies.  President Trump has been critical of China for … Continue Reading

Ross Op-Ed Defends U.S. Trade Policy as Response to Unfair Trade Practices of Others – Not Protectionism

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross reminds U.S. trading partners with sizeable surpluses that trade flows in not one, but two directions. Pushing back against assessments that U.S. trade policy is turning inward, Ross shifts the protectionist spotlight toward the policies, tariffs and regulations of key trade partners … Continue Reading

Congress Passes Landmark Russia Sanctions

Last night the U.S. Senate passed sweeping sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea by a vote of 98-2.  The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (the Act) contains important changes to U.S. sectoral sanctions on Russia and provides enhanced authority to issue primary and secondary sanctions on that country. The bill looks likely to … Continue Reading

Congress Weighs-In on New MTB Process In Advance of Final ITC Report

Congressional trade committee leaders submitted comments for the ITC to consider in its final Miscellaneous Tariff Bill report due for release in August.  House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Raking Member Richard Neal, along with Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, offered comments based on a review of the … Continue Reading

Combating Evasion of Duties Front and Center

Last year, President Obama signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (“TFTEA”).  Section 421 of the TFTEA (commonly called the Enforce and Protect Act, or EAPA), establishes procedures for submitting and investigating allegations of evasion of antidumping and countervailing duties. The statute encouraged a wide variety of stakeholders to participate … Continue Reading

EU Considering Retaliatory Measures on U.S. Exports of Whiskey, Juice, and Dairy Products Over Steel

The European Union is threatening to impose retaliatory measures on several key export products, including whiskey, orange juice, and dairy products, if President Trump follows through with plans to limit steel imports based on national security concerns. At a G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7, 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the … Continue Reading

First Look Into Trump Administration’s NAFTA Strategy

USTR Releases NAFTA Negotiating Objectives One Month Ahead of Anticipated Start to Renegotiations  In a next step toward renegotiating NAFTA, USTR has released a summary of the administration’s negotiating objectives.  Although the overall themes are no surprise, the summary provides limited additional insight into the renegotiation goals through tangible examples.  There is a continued emphasis … Continue Reading

Commerce and OMB Issue ‘Buy American’ Guidance to Federal Agencies

On Friday June 30, Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, and Director of OMB, Mick Mulvaney, released a memorandum providing guidance to executive departments and agencies that must, pursuant to the directives of President Trump’s April 18th Executive Order entitled “Buy American and Hire American,” undertake an analysis of their administration of applicable Buy American laws. … Continue Reading

House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Announces NAFTA Hearing

House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) announced on Tuesday, July 11th that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement” on Tuesday, July 18th.   The hearing will analyze whether NAFTA has been successful for the U.S. economy and job creation, with a focus on … Continue Reading
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