Category Archives: Trade Policy

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U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement: Intellectual Property Provisions for the Modern Age

On October 1, 2018, the United States, Canada, and Mexico announced that they had reached an agreement to “modernize” the 24-year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). When NAFTA came into effect, it created the largest free trade region in the world. Since then, developments in virtually every sector and the advent of cross-border … Continue Reading

U.S. Sanctions on Iran Have Been Fully Re-imposed

Today the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR, 31 C.F.R. Part 560) to fully re-impose U.S. sanctions on Iran following a wind down period that expired yesterday, November 4, 2018.  OFAC also issued new FAQs for foreign affiliates of U.S. companies and non-U.S. companies. Foreign affiliates … Continue Reading

Comment Opportunity: U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has opened a public comment period in connection with the proposed U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement negotiations.  On October 16, 2018, USTR notified Congress of its intent to enter into trade talks with Japan.  Those discussions cannot begin until mid-January 2019 at the earliest under the requirements of the … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

Export Quotas in Mexico’s Future

On October 15, 2018, chief Mexican trade negotiator Jesus Seade indicated that the United States is seeking to replace Section 232 tariffs on Mexican steel with an export quota program.  Seade stated that a deal regarding any potential export quotas on Mexican steel must be reached in the coming weeks, prior to the December, 1, … Continue Reading

ITC Initiates Investigation of the Likely Impact of USMCA

Last Friday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) formally launched an investigation into the economic benefits of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) that is to replace NAFTA. Under the Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) law, known as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, the ITC must prepare a report that assesses the … Continue Reading

U.S. Opens Trade Talks with EU, Japan, and the UK

Yesterday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) officially notified Congress that it would be launching separate trade discussions with the European Union, Japan, and the United Kingdom.  The letters sent to Congress provide notice of the Administration’s intent to negotiate trade agreements with each partner as required by the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities … Continue Reading

China Lingers in the Background of USMCA

As we previously reported, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have reached agreement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), which has governed trade between the three countries since 1994.  Article 32.10 of the agreement requires each country to notify the others of any intention to negotiate … Continue Reading

Trilateral Trade Agreement Reached with Heads of State of Canada, Mexico, and US

On Sunday, the heads of state of Canada and the United States agreed on terms for a new trilateral deal with Mexico.  The agreement, now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement “USMCA,” provides several new updates to its NAFTA predecessor.  The deal’s terms, including those established in August in an agreement between the U.S. and … Continue Reading

United States and Japan to Discuss Bilateral Trade Deal

In a joint statement issued yesterday, the United States and Japan announced that the two countries will begin discussions to enter into a bilateral trade deal.  The announcement comes after President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a Summit Meeting in New York to discuss a host of issues, including trade.  The joint statement highlighted that … Continue Reading

United States and South Korea Sign Updated FTA

On Monday, President Trump and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea signed a revised U.S.-Korea (known as “KORUS”) free trade agreement on the sidelines of the United National General Assembly meeting this week in New York.  In April 2017, President Trump indicated that he wanted to either renegotiate or terminate the then-five year old agreement.  … Continue Reading

President Trump is Expected to Terminate NAFTA Following Agreement in Principle with Mexico

On Monday, August 27, President Trump announced that he intends to terminate NAFTA if discussions with Canada are not finalized by the end of the week.  This news follows the successful negotiation of an agreement in principle for trade between the U.S. and Mexico.  While, according to the USTR, the agreement provides the “most comprehensive … Continue Reading

Bans on Imported Waste Continue in Southeast Asia

On August 16, 2018, Reuters reported that Thailand plans to ban imports of a variety of scrap electronics within the next six months and recycled plastic within the next two years.  The Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Kanchanarat, cites environmental and health concerns as the reason for the ban. While some repairable appliances, … Continue Reading

Commerce Initiates National Security Investigation Into Uranium Imports

On Wednesday, July 18, the Department of Commerce announced that it would begin investigating the effects of uranium imports on the national security interests of the United States.  The investigation will be conducted under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.  Two U.S. uranium producers – Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels Resources Inc. – … Continue Reading

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
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