Category Archives: Trade Policy

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USTR Announces Section 301 Exclusion Process

Background: On Friday, July 6, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced a process for U.S. interests to obtain product-specific exclusions from tariffs on Chinese imports as a result of the U.S. investigation into, and response to, China’s IP practices (see attached Federal Register notice).  The duties, applied under Section 301 of the Trade … Continue Reading

President Trump Targets Chinese Investments in the United States

On Wednesday, President Trump issued a statement in support of restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States in firms with critical technologies, and in greater protection of those technologies through enhanced export controls.  In particular, the President has thrown his support behind the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), bipartisan legislation that passed … Continue Reading

Ambassador Lighthizer Urged to Include Intellectual Property Protections in New NAFTA

As China’s intellectual property practices continue on to be a centerpiece of the Trump Administration’s trade policy, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senate Finance Committee Member Bill Nelson (D-Florida) on Friday urged U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer to include strong copyright protections in U.S. trade agreements, including the new NAFTA.  Digital trade and … Continue Reading

Trump Reconsiders TPP Stance, May Have Renewed Interest in Multilateral Agreement

Ahead of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scheduled for this week, President Trump told a group of governors and lawmakers in a meeting on Thursday, April 12th that the United States was looking to rejoin the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”).  President Trump withdrew from the TPP in January, 2017, … Continue Reading

Treasury Declines to Name China a Currency Manipulator

On April 13, 2018, the Treasury Department released its biannual report to Congress on the Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States, which declined to formally label China a currency manipulator under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (the “1988 Act”). This is the third such report … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Considering Using IEEPA to Block Chinese Acquisitions

According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration is considering using the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) to block Chinese investments in industries or technologies “deemed important” to the U.S.  (This statute has been used primarily to authorize economic sanctions and embargoes administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control).  To utilize IEEPA, the President must … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Releases Proposed List of Chinese Products for Additional 25% Tariffs

The Trump Administration is using an infrequently used provision of the trade laws, Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to impose an additional 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese products imported into the U.S.  The proposed list covers 1300 tariff lines and includes medicaments, pumps and valves, machinery for the oil … Continue Reading

U.S. to Raise “Misleading” Food Labeling Rules in NAFTA Discussions

The New York Times reported on March 20 that the United States was seeking to table a proposal in the NAFTA negotiations to limit the placement of consumer warnings on food packaging with respect to foods that are high in sugar, salt, or fat.  According to a copy of the negotiating document obtained by the … Continue Reading

Potential Tariffs on Apparel, Footwear, Electronics, and Home Goods from China

The Trump Administration is planning on dusting off another infrequently used provision of the trade laws, Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, to impose additional tariffs on apparel, footwear, electronics, and home goods manufactured in China and imported into the U.S.  The potential tariffs could reach between $30-$60 billion per year.  The Trump … Continue Reading

Gil Kaplan Confirmed as Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade

Yesterday evening, the Senate confirmed Gilbert Kaplan to serve as Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, after his April 2017 nomination and September 2017 confirmation hearing.  In this position, Mr. Kaplan will oversee Commerce’s trade remedy functions and export promotion activities.  He arrives at Commerce at a particularly critical period as the Administration tackles a … Continue Reading

Will the U.S. Re-Join the (CP)TPP?

On February 21, the final version of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”) was released ahead of its official signing, which is scheduled for March 8, 2018.  The CPTPP reduces tariffs between 11 nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The economies of these nations … Continue Reading

Global Trade Flows Are Expanding, But Is There a Reason for Optimism?

Last Friday, the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, as part of its World Trade Monitor, reported that global trade flows – the volume of export and imports of goods – was 4.5% higher in 2017 than in 2016.  This is an important finding because it marks the biggest rate of year-in-year expansion since … Continue Reading

The Trade Tool that is the Cherry of Lawmakers’ Eyes

On February 14, Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Richard Burr (R-NC) jointly introduced the S. 2427, the Self-Initiations Trade Enforcement Act.  If enacted, the legislation would give the Department of Commerce greater leniency to self-initiate investigations of unfair trade practices that harm U.S.  producers by creating a permanent taskforce at the International Trade Administration  to … Continue Reading

Commerce Secretary Releases Steel and Aluminum 232 Reports, Recommends Remedies

On Friday, February 16, 2018, Secretary Ross released public versions of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s reports concerning the agency’s section 232 investigations into the impact on national security of steel and aluminum imports. As a result of its investigations, the Department of Commerce has determined that imports of steel and aluminum “threaten to impair … Continue Reading

Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Final Deal Reached Without the United States

Earlier this week, the remaining 11 parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations announced the conclusion of negotiations and that an agreement will be signed on March 8, 2018.  The parties to the agreement (rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, … Continue Reading

House Passes Unanimous Duty Suspension Bill Loading Bases for Senate Grand Slam

The House of Representatives passed on January 16, 2018 a bill providing temporary duty relief on about 1,800 imported products that are not available or produced in the United States.  The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2017 sailed through the chamber with a 402-0 vote, signaling overwhelmingly strong bipartisan support and proving there are still … Continue Reading

President Trump Announces Tariffs on Solar Panels and Washing Machines

Yesterday, President Trump announced his decisions on two high-profile trade cases brought under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, which authorizes import restraints to protect domestic industries that are seriously injured by imports. These cases, which involve solar panels and washing machines from a variety of countries, are the first affirmative actions under … Continue Reading

Trump Waives Secondary Sanctions on Iran, But Vows Not to do so Again Without Changes to the JCPOA

Last week the President begrudgingly extended waivers continuing to lift U.S. “secondary sanctions” on Iran.  But the President also insisted that he will not issue further extensions without a renegotiation of certain aspects of the joint nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), throwing the future of the deal and … Continue Reading

Commerce Department Completes Section 232 Probe Into Steel Imports But Stays Mum on the Findings

Yesterday evening the Commerce Department sent to the White House its findings in the Section 232 national security investigation on steel imports.  The much anticipated report was originally due to be issued last year, but faced several delays.  The President now has the authority to decide whether to accept or reject the Commerce Department’s findings … Continue Reading

U.S. Implements Global Magnitsky Sanctions Targeting Corruption and Human Rights Abuses Worldwide

On December 20, 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13818 implementing new sanctions against human rights abusers and persons involved in corruption pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act).  The Global Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. government to target persons and entities involved in gross human rights abuses – such … Continue Reading

U.S., EU and Japan Unite Against Excess Capacity and Other Distortive Trade Practices

The U.S., EU and Japan issued a joint statement at the 11th Ministerial of the World Trade Organization in Buenos Aires, pledging trilateral cooperation to combat a number of unfair market distorting and protectionist practices by third countries, including severe excess capacity, government-financed support, market-distorting subsidies, state owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and local content … Continue Reading

Congress Proposes Increased Scrutiny on Foreign Investments in the U.S.

A bipartisan group of co-sponsors in both the House and the Senate recently introduced the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (“FIRRMA”).  These substantively identical bills demonstrate that Congress is now considering increasing the scrutiny of foreign investment in the U.S., particularly from China. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) is … Continue Reading

New Sanctions Placed on Trade with Cuba

On Thursday November 9th,  the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published new regulations in the Federal Register executing June’s National Security Presidential Memorandum (“NSPM”) regarding U.S. sanctions against Cuba.  (See our previous post on the NSPM here).  The State Department and Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) also published complementary rules giving effect to the … Continue Reading
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