Category Archives: Trade Policy

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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

Trump Announces Two Key Trade Nominations and WTO Taps U.S. Trade Attorney for Deputy Director-General Post

According to a White House Statement issued on June 26th, President Donald Trump intends to nominate two important trade positions within the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) and the International Trade Commission (“USITC”). Peter B. Davidson, Senior Vice President for Congressional Relations at Verizon Communications, was selected by President Trump to be general counsel of … Continue Reading

Trump Issues New Cuba Restrictions

Late last week, President Trump issued a directive that would purportedly “cancel” the recent changes in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations made under President Obama’s administration.  This announcement caused confusion in the business community, which had relied on the Obama administration’s changes to begin commercial engagement in Cuba.  Even though the directive actually leaves many … Continue Reading

Up at Bat this Summer:  Renegotiating NAFTA

NAFTA renegotiations are up at bat this summer.  In May, the Trump administration sent a letter to Congress that began a 90-day consultation period between Congress, the administration, and business stakeholders to discuss the United States’ priorities.  The 90-day period is set to expire on August 16th, at which point the United States may restart … Continue Reading

Congress Takes The Lead In Broad New Sanctions Against Russia

On June 15, 2017, the Senate overwhelmingly – by a vote of 98-2 – approved broad new sanctions against Russia in response to that country’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election and its ongoing aggression in Syria and Ukraine. The legislation would make several big changes.  First, the package would codify existing sanctions on Russia, … Continue Reading

Commerce Department Signals that Findings in Section 232 Investigations on Steel and Aluminum are Imminent

The Commerce Department has signaled that it will issue findings in its respective “Section 232” investigations covering imports of steel and aluminum before the end of June.  Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. § 1862) grants the U.S. Department of Commerce the authority to conduct an investigation to determine whether … Continue Reading

Results of the OECD Ministerial and a New Ambassador for the United States

The Ministerial Council of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) wrapped up a two-day meeting this week with a joint statement for the organization’s policy priorities.  The OECD was established in 1961 as a forum for democratic, market economies to exchange economic and social policy ideas, collect data, and identify best practices.  This … Continue Reading

It’s Time To Comment on Miscellaneous Tariff Petitions

The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (“AMCA”) established a new process for the submission and evaluation of requests for temporary duty suspensions and reductions.  Under the AMCA, petitions for duty suspensions and reductions are filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (“Commission” or “USITC”), and the Commission, with input from other federal agencies, reviews … Continue Reading

NAFTA: TPP in Disguise?

It now appears that after a good bit of drama, the NAFTA path is becoming clear, at least as far as process is concerned. The required notification letter has been sent, which means that formal negotiations can begin after August 16. Since Ambassador Lighthizer has expressed a desire to get moving, it is fair to … Continue Reading

U.S. Lawmakers Move to End Cuba Travel and Export Restrictions

On May 25th, U.S. Senators introduced the “Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017” (S. 1287).  The bill is sponsored by 54 senators and it would eliminate restrictions on travel to Cuba by American citizens and legal residents, and associated travel related banking restrictions.  Fourteen sponsors introduced a “Freedom to Export to … Continue Reading
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