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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.
President Trump is reportedly considering a draft bill that would give him authority to ignore World Trade Organization rules and increase U.S. import tariffs. However, any such bill would have major ramifications and is not likely to be approved by Congress.
Slightly more companies investigating the origin of their conflict minerals were successful in 2017 compared to 2016, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.
The Court of International Trade has ruled that if U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not issue by July 5 regulations implementing the changes to drawback law made by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act it will create its own deadline and remedy for claimants. However, the CIT declined to require that CBP pay accelerated payment to claimants filing under the TFTEA changes.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has determined that there is a reasonable suspicion that evasion of the antidumping duty order on aluminum extrusions from China is taking place. The petitioner in this case alleges that an importer misclassified extruded aluminum door thresholds as plastic wall plates, transshipped such thresholds from China through Vietnam, and has a history of attempting to avoid AD duties under this order.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sharply criticized June 26 the higher duties several countries are assessing on U.S. goods in retaliation for the U.S. tariff hike on steel and aluminum products. Lighthizer argued that it is these other countries, not the U.S., that are doing “great damage to the multilateral trading system” and said the U.S. “will take all necessary actions under both U.S. law and international rules to protect its interests.”
The European Union and China agreed recently to cooperate on reforming World Trade Organization rules in an effort to counter what they see as protectionist measures implemented by the Trump administration.
The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will initially implement its Public Health Information System Export Component June 29 with the following countries: Afghanistan, Andorra, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, San Marino, Tanzania, and Uganda.