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Lighthizer’s confirmation by the full Senate, which could come within the next week, could spur progress on Trump administration trade initiatives such as renegotiating NAFTA.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced April 24 that two former executives of a Hungarian telecommunications company have agreed to financial penalties and employment restrictions to settle charges that they violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
CBP issues country of origin advisory rulings and final determinations as to whether an article is or would be a product of a designated country or instrumentality for the purposes of granting waivers of certain “Buy American” restrictions in U.S. law or practice for products offered for sale to the U.S. government.
The Bureau of Industry and Security has provided further information about a regulatory requirement that as of April 19 imposes new support documentation requirements on exports of specific controlled items to or through Hong Kong.
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).