In July, France signed into law a tax, which targets companies with high digital revenues such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon. On Monday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced the conclusion of an investigation into France’s digital tax under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”). The USTR found
“Phase One” Deal with China Will Not Include Language Relating to Forced Technology Transfers
On Tuesday, as “phase one” of the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China nears completion, the Wall Street Journal reported that the interim agreement would not only deter new tariffs, but lessen existing tariffs. However, the “phase one” agreement reportedly will not include language regarding forced technology transfers.
China’s practice of forcing U.S. companies…
China Announces New Tariffs on $75 Billion of U.S. Products
On Friday, August 23, China announced its plans to impose 5% to 10% tariffs on $75 billion of American products in response to Washington’s recent tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese products. China’s new tariffs will take effect in two stages, the first on September 1, 2019 and second on December 15, 2019. The new…
Alexa, Will A Digital Tax Restrict U.S. Commerce?
On July 10, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that his office will investigate under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”) whether France’s new digital tax law unfairly targets American businesses and restricts American commerce. Section 301 affords the USTR broad authority to investigate and respond to unfair trade practices of…
China Amends Law to Ban Theft of Foreign Trade Secrets
Last week, China amended a draft of a proposed foreign-investment law in an effort to address global concern over forced technology transfers. The new law, which bans officials from divulging corporate secrets, was approved by the Chinese legislature on Friday. The amendments were made shortly before the law was put to a vote and are…
Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Delay Section 232 Tariffs on Autos
U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Fred Upton (R-MI) on Wednesday introduced legislation (H.R. 1710) that would preclude President Trump from imposing Section 232 tariffs on imported automobiles and automotive parts until the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) conducts “a study of the economic well-being, health, and vitality of the United States auto-motive…
Food Labels May Be Sticking Point in U.S.-U.K. Trade Deal
On Thursday, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released the summary of specific negotiating objectives for a trade deal between the UK and US. Among the USTR’s goals are to increase market access in the UK for US agricultural products, and ensure that “geographical indications” (GIs) do not undermine market access for US…
McDonald’s Big Loss in Big Mac Case
On January 15, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) revoked McDonald’s registered trademark, “Big Mac.” The name “Big Mac” had been protected in the EU for more than 20 years under international classes 29, 30, and 42 for foods, sandwiches, and services of franchise restaurants, respectively. Trademarks, which provide legal protections for names, among other things, can be extremely valuable assets for businesses and protect consumers in their purchasing decisions. The January 15 decision will likely create some concern, if not confusion, for international businesses in how they might protect their brands in major markets. McDonald’s quickly announced that it plans to appeal the decision, which is set against a backdrop of US-EU trade negotiations and a recent increased focus on intellectual property in trade negotiations.
In its decision, EUIPO found that the evidence McDonald’s provided to prove the genuine use of the name “Big Mac” in the EU, including websites, posters, packing, and affidavits from company representatives in Germany, France, and the UK, was not sufficient. EUIPO said about the websites, “it could not be concluded whether, or how, a purchase could be made or an order could be placed.” In addition, the regulating body took issue with brochures because there had been no evidence provided as to whom the brochures were given or how they were dispersed. The administrative decision also discussed that although some evidence was provided of use, McDonald’s did not prove the extent of use of its mark.
The case to cancel the international fast food giant’s protection was brought by an Irish fast food chain, Supermac’s. Patrick McDonagh, the managing director of Supermac’s, stated that the intention of the case was to “shine a light on the use of trademark bullying.” …
Continue Reading McDonald’s Big Loss in Big Mac Case
European Parliament Votes to Ban Single Use Plastics by 2021
On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted 571-to-53 to ban certain single use plastic items from the EU by 2021. The legislation is aimed at reducing marine pollution and was drafted in May 2018 by the European Commission. The Commission estimates that more than 80 percent of marine litter is plastics and that the items considered…
President Trump’s Stamp of Disapproval on International Postal Treaty
On October 17, President Trump announced that the United States may withdraw from a 144-year-old international postal agreement.
The Universal Postal Union (“UPU”), established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is an agency of the United Nations that facilitates postal cooperation between governments and regulates cross-border traffic of international mail.
The Trump Administration fears that U.S. businesses are disadvantaged by policies of the UPU that allow Chinese businesses to ship a variety of goods to the United States at “unfairly low prices.” The administration is also concerned that current policies of the UPU facilitate the shipping of counterfeit or otherwise illegal goods to the United States.
The UPU allows developing countries, including China, to ship small packages at lower rates than developed nations. The Trump Administration is seeking changes to the treaty that would allow countries to set their own rates for parcels weighing less than 4.4 lbs. Under the current rules, small packages shipped from China to the U.S. are discounted between 40 and 70 percent. It is estimated that subsidized rates for small packages from China cost the U.S. $300 million per year.
Continue Reading President Trump’s Stamp of Disapproval on International Postal Treaty