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U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted to its website information indicating that on March 5 it issued a withhold release order against imported toys produced by Huizhou Mink Industrial Co. Ltd. in China due to concerns that they are being produced with forced labor. It appears that this order, though it has not yet been formally announced, requires the detention of such goods at all U.S. ports of entry.
President Trump could announce within the next few weeks higher tariffs on more than 100 goods imported from China, according to several press sources. The import duties would be the culmination of a section 301 investigation launched last summer on China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
Additional tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum would be precluded under legislation introduced March 8 by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. According to a press release from Flake’s office, the bill would prohibit the implementation of related changes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. set forth in two presidential proclamations.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased 6.6 percent in January to $56.6 billion, the largest monthly shortfall in nearly a decade, according to trade statistics released by the Department of Commerce. Exports fell 1.2 percent to $200.9 billion while imports were virtually unchanged at $257.5 billion.
The president signed separate presidential proclamations March 8 imposing additional tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on steel and aluminum imports, respectively, effective for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse on or after 12:01 a.m. March 23. Imports from Canada and Mexico are exempt from these additional tariffs, at least at this time.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to evaluate its efforts to enhance intellectual property rights enforcement and assess potential additional information sharing with the private sector, in accordance with recommendations in a recent Government Accountability Office report.
CBP issued March 6 an e-commerce strategy aimed at addressing the growing volume of small package imports as well as the challenges and opportunities that direct-to-consumer e-commerce presents for the economy and security of the U.S.
The Mexican government reported March 5 additional advances in the ongoing discussions on updating NAFTA but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the parties did not make “the progress that many had hoped” in the seventh negotiating round held Feb. 25-March 5 in Mexico City. Lighthizer also warned that while the Trump administration would prefer to maintain a tripartite agreement, “if that proves impossible, we are prepared to move on a bilateral basis, if agreement can be made.”
President Trump announced March 1 that he plans to impose additional import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The news was met with sharp criticism by many Republicans, business groups, and trading partners but was welcomed by Democrats and steel and aluminum manufacturers. There is growing concern that the tariffs could prompt retaliatory measures by other countries.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said recently that they anticipate retaining and perhaps even expanding the agency’s data collection requirements as a key part of the agency’s evolving enforcement efforts.
The Trump administration’s second annual trade policy agenda again takes a tough line, emphasizing “aggressive” enforcement of U.S. trade laws, the role of trade in supporting national security, and limiting the role of the World Trade Organization.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a document intended to provide guidance on CBP processes during ACE system interruptions and to help trade partners develop their own downtime policies and procedures. CBP officials have also said they are taking steps to limit such downtime.
Press sources are reporting that a prominent trade critic is in line to take on a greater policy role at the White House just as the Trump administration is considering a raft of potential import restrictions.
These 56 parties are located, registered, or flagged in North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama, and Comoros. Any property or interests in property of the designated parties in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the U.S. may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with any of the designated parties.
A new bill in the California State Assembly (AB 2379, introduced Feb. 14) would require all clothing made from fabric that is more than 50 percent polyester to bear a conspicuous label warning that the garment sheds plastic microfibers when washed and recommending hand washing. Under this bill, the sale or offering for sale of such clothing without this label would be prohibited on and after Jan. 1, 2020. Hats and shoes would be exempt.