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The Trump administration has denied hundreds more requests for exclusions from the additional tariffs it has imposed on imports from China but has approved additional requests as well, according to information made available by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Most such requests are still under consideration but USTR is making progress in conducting its reviews.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has issued its annual National Trade Estimate report, which describes significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports of goods and services, foreign direct investment, and e-commerce as well as the actions being taken to address those barriers. The NTE report covers significant barriers, including those that may be consistent with international trade rules (e.g., very high tariffs), affecting U.S. exports to 61 countries, the European Union, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Arab League.
A recent petition seeking the reclassification of an imported product could signal a new strategy that domestic companies could use to seek higher tariffs on goods from foreign competitors.
The World Trade Organization has upheld a September 2017 compliance panel decision that rejected nearly all claims by the European Union that U.S. subsidies to Boeing harmed Airbus’s ability to sell large civil aircraft. The decision could limit the amount of retaliatory sanctions the EU may seek to impose on U.S. goods. In the meantime, the WTO is considering a U.S. request for $11.2 billion in sanctions over EU subsidies to Airbus.
A recent penalty case highlights the importance for U.S. companies to conduct sanctions-related due diligence both prior and subsequent to mergers and acquisitions and to take appropriate steps to audit, monitor, and verify newly acquired subsidiaries and affiliates for compliance, according to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign subsidiaries are subject to U.S. sanctions, OFAC states, and parent companies may face exposure to civil penalties vis-à-vis their subsidiaries’ actions.
Importers should expect “a slowdown in the processing of trade” along the U.S.-Mexico border for an indeterminate period of time as resources are shifted to deal with a “dramatic increase in illegal crossings” by migrants, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said March 27. McAleenan said up to 750 CBP officers from ports of entry along the border will soon be reassigned to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with processing, transportation, and hospital watch of migrants.
The Trump administration has taken a more active approach to enforcement of the Generalized System of Preferences, which provides duty-free treatment for imports of thousands of products. This shift presents both challenges and opportunities for companies utilizing this program.
The Court of International Trade has rejected a constitutional challenge to the Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum products. This decision (a) highlights the importance for importers of affected goods to use the existing process for seeking exclusions from these tariffs, which to date has yielded a high percentage of approvals, and (b) could increase the likelihood of additional Section 232 tariffs on automobiles and auto parts and other products.
Materials on the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 include the following information on U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s achievements in FY 2018.
President Trump indicated this week that higher tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods imported from China will remain in place for the foreseeable future. The president’s stance could complicate efforts to secure a bilateral trade agreement.
With a recent increase in enforcement of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s importer security filing rule, it’s a good time for importers to review the basic requirements of this rule and examine their compliance.
Dozens of business, consumer, and public interest groups are asking the Senate Finance Committee to impose strict limits on the president’s authority to impose import tariffs in legislation currently under development. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is reportedly working to craft a bill that draws from two measures already introduced in the House and Senate and is able to generate sufficient congressional support to override a potential veto by President Trump.
China has recently increased the value of goods that may be imported duty-free and expanded the number of goods that may be imported via e-commerce. These changes should help foreign companies expand their e-commerce offerings into China.
The ITC states that the proposed changes principally (1) require petitions to include certain additional information, (2) clarify and provide additional instructions with respect to information to be included in petitions, and (3) revise the requirement regarding when petitions may be withdrawn.
A new multi-agency task force designed to protect national security and combat counterfeit goods was launched recently in Detroit and could serve as a national model for related investigations.
The president’s authority to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA under U.S. law is unclear, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, but it does appear that the president would need congressional approval to terminate the U.S. law implementing NAFTA. The report’s conclusions could embolden lawmakers pushing back against President Trump’s threats to withdraw from NAFTA unless Congress approves the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement designed to replace it.