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President Trump issued April 18 an executive order that a senior administration official said will “usher in a new, more muscular Buy American policy” based on maximizing the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the U.S. This effort aims to promote economic and national security, help stimulate economic growth, and support the U.S. manufacturing and defense industrial bases.
The U.S. trade deficit with Korea has more than doubled since the KORUS agreement took effect in 2012 and President Trump has made reducing trade deficits a top economic priority. Trump has also expressed interest in a bilateral deal with Japan after withdrawing in January from the Trans-Pacific Partnership both countries had negotiated with ten others.
U.S.-China trade tensions could ease somewhat after the Treasury Department’s semiannual foreign exchange rate report declined to name China a currency manipulator. However, China remains one of six countries Treasury has targeted for close scrutiny of their currency practices.
The Department of Commerce has published a report required as part of the revamped miscellaneous trade bill process approved by Congress in 2016. The MTB temporarily reduces or suspends tariffs paid on imported inputs and products for which there is no or insufficient domestic production and availability.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced April 11 an “unprecedented action” as part of the Trump administration’s effort to “take swift action against harmful trade practices from foreign nations attempting to take advantage of our markets, workers, and businesses.”
This effort is likely to affect import, export, and other trade-related regulations issued by agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Commerce, although the extent of this impact remains unclear.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Matt Borman told a recent meeting of the BIS Regulations and Procedures Technical Advisory Committee that BIS plans to issue within the next few weeks a regulatory exception mirroring the OFAC general license.
A revision of the Foreign Trade Regulations is among the Commerce Department rules on hold due to White House efforts to reduce government regulation. Bureau of Industry and Security officials told a recent meeting of the Regulations and Procedures Technical Advisory Committee that DOC agencies are continuing to discuss internally how to implement these efforts.
Nearly half of companies investigating the origin of their conflict minerals in 2015 were successful, up significantly from the year before, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. The findings come as the SEC considers whether conflict minerals disclosure requirements should be scaled back.
Doug Hassebrock, director of the BIS Office of Export Enforcement, told the agency’s Regulations and Procedures Technical Advisory Committee that in determining the size of the penalty BIS considered not only the value of the transactions at issue but also the nature of the company’s behavior (e.g., knowing and willful evasion of export laws and regulations).
President Trump has issued an executive order directing federal authorities to step up the collection of antidumping and countervailing duties and the prosecution of trade and customs law violations. Importers should act quickly to review their processes, practices, and entry data to identify potential trade compliance risks. Reporting and correcting any violations that may be discovered could mitigate negative consequences.
A regulatory requirement slated to take effect April 19 imposes new support documentation requirements on exports of specific controlled items to or through Hong Kong. The Bureau of Industry and Security recently provided additional information about these requirements.
Unlike recent commissioners selected from law enforcement backgrounds outside CBP, McAleenan has substantial experience with both trade facilitation and enforcement from within the agency.
The letter was reportedly sent to the leaders of the House and Senate trade oversight committees for review before it is formally submitted, which press sources say could take place in the next week or so. Negotiations could begin as early as 90 days after that notification.
Trade irritants and the expansion of economic ties were among the topics of discussion at a meeting held under the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement this week in Hanoi.