Category Archives: Trade Policy

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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

Congress Presses-On for Temporary Tariff Relief on Non-U.S. Made Goods by Year’s End

The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on October 25th to discuss the new Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Process – overseen by the U.S. International Trade Commission with input from other federal agencies – to reduce temporarily tariffs on products not made in the United States.  The largely non-controversial hearing was a first … Continue Reading

Commerce Continues China’s Status as a Non-Market Economy

On October 26, 2017, the Department of Commerce  announced the results of an investigation concluding that China is a non-market economy (“NME”) country for purposes of Commerce’s antidumping analysis.  Commerce’s decision continues the long-standing practice of the agency with respect to the antidumping methodology it applies to cases involving China. Commerce was spurred to review … Continue Reading

New Obstacles Emerge in NAFTA Negotiations

As the fourth round of NAFTA negotiations were completed in Washington on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, significant new obstacles to the trade talks are emerging.  As a result, the fifth round of talks has been postponed until mid-November. Specifically, Canada and Mexico have rejected the U.S.’s proposals on the elimination of NAFTA dispute panels in … Continue Reading

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