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The Trump administration announced July 24 plans for up to $12 billion in assistance for U.S. farmers whose exports have been affected by restrictions imposed by foreign countries in retaliation for the administration’s increased tariffs on imported goods. However, reaction to the announcement was largely negative.
An organization known to be critical of Chinese trade policies said in a recent report that while U.S. policymakers should give due consideration to the enduring effects of the “China trade shock” they should also recognize the new opportunities and increased purchasing power it has provided for U.S. workers and consumers.
Businesses with operations in industries and/or countries identified in a new U.S. government advisory as being at high risk of violating sanctions against North Korea should closely examine their supply chains and adopt appropriate due diligence practices. This advisory highlights sanctions evasion tactics used by North Korea and notes that well-documented due diligence policies and practices to counter these tactics may be considered mitigating factors when enforcement responses are determined.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert, R-Wash., are calling on the Trump administration to issue regulations implementing the duty drawback provisions of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act “without further delay.”
Effective July 19 the European Commission imposed provisional safeguard measures on imports of a number of steel products in an effort to prevent the diversion of steel from other countries to the EU market as a result of the U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said these measures “will maintain traditional trade flows” and should “strike the right balance between the interest of EU producers and users of steel, like the automotive industry and the construction sector, who rely on imports.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said July 17 that he will work to advance legislation to curtail the president’s trade authority if the Trump administration continues with its “misguided and reckless reliance on tariffs.” Hatch’s comments come amid increasing concern among both Republicans and Democrats about the effects on U.S. businesses and workers of the Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs the administration has imposed in recent months as well as the retaliatory duties several major trading partners have levied against U.S. goods.
Canada’s tariffs include an additional 25 percent duty on steel products classified under various subheadings in Chapter 72 and an additional 10 percent duty on aluminum products as well as other goods such as food products, mattresses, lawn mowers, dishwashers, boats, and various consumer goods. These measures are being imposed in retaliation for, and will remain in place until the elimination of, the higher duties the U.S. imposed June 1 on steel and aluminum products from Canada citing national security concerns.
The leaders of the U.S. and the United Kingdom said after a July 13 meeting that their countries plan to pursue a bilateral free trade agreement once the UK formally leaves the European Union in March 2019. Lower-level officials met recently to discuss specific trade-related items that could factor into future FTA talks.
The Department of Commerce announced July 13 that it has lifted a ban on exports to Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (collectively, ZTE). DOC took this step after ZTE fulfilled several requirements, including paying a $1 billion penalty, replacing its entire board of directors and senior leadership, and placing an additional $400 million in suspended penalty money in escrow.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said this week that the Trump administration intends to move quickly to begin negotiating a model free trade agreement that could be extended to multiple African countries.
The Trump administration is proposing to further escalate its efforts to address concerns with China’s policies on intellectual property protection by imposing an additional ten percent duty on 6,031 tariff lines from China with an import value of approximately $200 billion. The full list of products that could be subject to this tariff is here.
U.S. importers, exporters, and manufacturers are looking for ways to mitigate the impact of the 10 to 25 percent additional tariffs the U.S. has levied on tens of billions of dollars’ worth of imported goods, including steel and aluminum from all global sources and hundreds of products from China, as well as the retaliatory tariffs U.S. trading partners have begun to impose on U.S. exports. There are a number of proven and legitimate ways to avoid or reduce these duties that have been used for many years with great success.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has set Oct. 9 as the deadline for submitting requests for exclusions from the additional 25 percent tariff being imposed as of July 6 on goods imported from China. USTR states that any exclusions granted will be retroactive to July 6 and extend one year after the exclusion determination is published in the Federal Register.
At its recent annual session the World Customs Organization Council adopted a framework of standards on cross-border e-commerce designed to help WCO members develop e-commerce strategic and operational frameworks in cooperation with stakeholders. The WCO states that this framework will also be useful for members seeking to enhance existing frameworks to effectively meet the requirements of new and evolving business models.
The Trump administration announced this week that U.S. companies may engage in a limited number of activities with a Chinese telecommunications company hit with sanctions earlier this year in a long-running case over the company’s violation of U.S. export controls.