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A Trump administration review of steel has been pushed back but is still underway and could yet lead to broad import restrictions, according to press sources.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at the launch of negotiations to revamp NAFTA Aug. 16 that President Trump “is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and a couple of updated chapters” but instead will seek “major improvements.” Lighthizer said this task will be “very difficult” but expressed hope that the end result will be “freer markets, fairer and balanced trade, and stronger ties between our three countries.”
President Trump has directed the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to determine whether to conduct a Section 301 investigation of any of China's laws, policies, practices, or actions that may be unreasonable or discriminatory and that may be harming U.S. intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development. Any such investigation could ultimately result in additional tariffs or restrictions on imports from China or other measures.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is revising its ongoing tests evaluating the feasibility and functionality of filing air, rail, and vessel cargo export manifest data electronically through the Automated Commercial Environment.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has initiated its annual review of the products and countries eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP and is accepting petitions seeking to add, preserve, or remove GSP benefits.
An Aug. 8 report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission finds that the U.S. faces challenges in identifying and preventing the entry of goods imported from China that are produced with forced labor despite a 2015 law that enhanced U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s authorities in this area.
The Trump administration is reportedly considering self-initiating a Section 301 investigation of China’s forced technology transfer policies. However, the administration has reportedly postponed further action due to its efforts to secure China’s help in imposing tougher economic sanctions against North Korea.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expanding its enforcement efforts by targeting importers it suspects may have compliance deficiencies with respect to the Lacey Act declaration requirement and related customs issues.
Press sources characterize the plan as an effort to reclaim momentum on this issue, which played a major role in last year’s presidential election, but point out that it contains few new ideas and in many cases aligns closely with objectives advanced by President Trump.
Press sources indicate that negotiators are planning to meet seven times through the end of the year, approximately every three weeks, with trade ministers taking the lead on the last day of each round.
This law is expected to significantly expand the lists of entities with which U.S. persons are limited or prohibited from doing business. In addition, these prohibitions could be extended to a substantial number of other entities due to the Office of Foreign Assets Controls’ so-called 50 percent rule, which provides that any entity owned 50 percent or more by a listed entity is subject to the same prohibitions as the listed entity.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative plans to pursue an “aggressive” trade enforcement agenda that includes both offensive and defensive measures, according to a recent report to Congress.
The senators said CBP's interim rule “is inconsistent with Congress’ intent and falls short of what is needed to make the duty evasion process more transparent, timely, and accessible to stakeholders.”
Trump administration officials and congressional leaders announced July 27 that a border adjustment tax is being dropped from a proposed overhaul of the tax code in an effort to move that reform forward.