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The U.S. and South Korea will hold their first talks on updating their bilateral free trade agreement Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C., and could hold subsequent rounds every three to four weeks, according to press reports. Korea’s trade ministry said earlier this month that the domestic procedures necessary to consider amending the KORUS agreement, including consultations with lawmakers and stakeholders, have been completed.
President Trump has issued a proclamation modifying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. to make changes to U.S. free trade agreements and trade preference programs.
President Trump has issued a proclamation restoring or suspending trade preferences under the Generalized System of Preferences and the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The GSP changes will have little immediate practical effect because GSP itself expires Dec. 31, 2017.
A Singapore-based company and its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary have agreed to pay a combined total penalty of more than $422 million to resolve charges with authorities in the U.S., Brazil, and Singapore arising out of a decade-long scheme to bribe officials in Brazil.
Reducing imports is among the primary objectives of a Dec. 20 executive order that seeks to ease U.S. vulnerabilities to the supply of critical minerals. The EO also aims to boost domestic production of these minerals as well as the search for viable alternatives.
Promoting U.S. prosperity, including by encouraging free, fair, and reciprocal trade relationships, is one of the four pillars of a national security strategy announced this week by President Trump.
New rules on a trusted trader program, routed export transactions, and antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings are among the items listed on the Department of Commerce’s most recent semiannual regulatory agenda.
The departments of Homeland Security and the Treasury have issued their semiannual regulatory agendas, which list the following regulations affecting international trade that could be issued within the next year as well as rulemaking proceedings that have been in process for some time and are not as likely to see further progress in the near term.
The WTO’s 11th ministerial meeting concluded Dec. 13 with a commitment from members to secure a deal by the end of 2019 on comprehensive and effective disciplines that prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. However, no agreement was possible in a number of substantive issues, including public stockholding for food security purposes.
According to a joint statement, the ministers will seek to eliminate practices by third countries that exacerbate this problem, including government-financed and -supported capacity expansion, unfair competitive conditions caused by large market-distorting subsidies and state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and local content requirements and preferences.
A new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Bank reveals that non-tariff measures make trade costlier for developing countries than tariffs. NTMs are defined as measures other than ordinary customs duties that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade; e.g., safety regulations for machinery or toys, health regulations for food or medicines, quotas, price controls, and export restrictions.
The World Customs Organization’s Policy Commission recently adopted a resolution aimed at helping customs and other government agencies, businesses, and other stakeholders in the cross-border e-commerce supply chain to understand, coordinate, and better respond to current and emerging challenges. The Policy Commission also issued a communiqué on e-commerce to the World Trade Organization’s ongoing ministerial conference, where this topic could be one of a few on which WTO members are able to reach agreement.
In his opening statement at the World Trade Organization’s 11th ministerial meeting, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer enumerated concerns that have helped throw the WTO’s future into doubt. The Trump administration’s critical approach toward the WTO, spurred by a belief that it treats the U.S. unfairly, slowed the organization’s work in 2017 and has significantly lowered expectations for the biannual meeting.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is planning to conduct a pilot test of the electronic payment of taxes and fees imposed on commercial vessels at four ports of entry. This pilot will start no earlier than Jan. 8, 2018, and run for 18 months. CBP states that the pilot will not affect the amount of taxes and fees due, the clearance process, or the proof of documentation required to be presented.
The new policy states that when a company satisfies the standards of voluntary self-disclosure, full cooperation, and timely and appropriate remediation there will be a presumption that DOJ will resolve the company’s case through a declination of prosecution.