Trump may cancel EU deal and impose 25% duties on European cars.

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According to the Express UK website, the French Ambassador to the US warned that President Trump may impose duties on European autos very soon and impose tariffs if talks continue.

The French Ambasssador further claimed the upcoming months will be a crucial time to negotiate a new deal regarding trade. This news is a 180 degree change from July – when President Trump pledged not to impose new tariffs on the EU autos while the two sides were undergoing trade negotiations. Back in August, Trump threatened 25% tariffs on European cars – claiming the taxes are too low on importer cars in the US – thereby hurting American auto manufacturers.

Check back here for all the latest news on whether the administration will impose 25% duties on European autos. For this and other trade related questions, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit dolls and toys with excessive lead levels.

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According to a Customs media release on September 14, 2018, CBP officers at the International Falls Port of Entry detained several rail containers transporting toys with counterfeit items and toys with prohibited lead levels.

Customs seized the first container of 2,459 die cast “transporter carry case” filled with toy cars for excessive lead levels.

The second container was seized for containing 5,460 fashion dolls that violated copyright protected markings. The media release claimed the suggested retail price was $139,145.

As Christmas and the holidays approaches, I believe this is only the beginning of more seizures. If you have had your shipments seized for intellectual property right violations, contact trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

135 Chinese Mitten Crabs seized in Indianapolis.

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By Christian Fischer, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=342346

CBP reported on September 18th, the seizure of 135 Chinese Mitten Crabs. Also known as the “Shanghai hairy crab”, these burrowing crabs are named after their furry claws that resemble mittens.

Mitten crabs are invasive species that burrow causing damage to embankments and clogging drainage systems and as such it is illegal to import, transport or possess live Chinese Mitten Crabs in the US.

If you have any import, export or compliance questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP reports first encounter with Rosy Gypsy Moth from transport ship in Baltimore.

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CBP issued a press release yesterday reporting the first encounter of the Rosy Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) (species: Lymantri mathura). CBP with the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered the moth aboard a ship in Baltimore and suspect the destructive pest may have been due to a June part call in Japan (a high risk AGM area).

The USDA says the AGM is a threat to forests and urban landscapes as the moth can travel up to 25 miles per day and lay egg masses which yield hundreds of hungry caterpillars. The hungry hungry caterpillars are said to be voracious eaters that attack more than 500 species of trees and plants.

If CBP Agriculture Specialists have detained your vessel at a port and there are issues of whether to turn the ship around or fumigate – call experienced attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US and China exchange tariff duties in trade war.

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Sorry for the lack of updates, Trump’s 232 and 301 duties have been occupying most of my time.

As you likely already know, yesterday, the Trump administration announced they will impose 10% duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, earlier today, China announced retaliatory duties on $60 billion in US goods.

If you import from China and have questions about commenting, exclusion requests or other alternatives to minimize the tariff penalty – feel free to give me a call, 832.896.6288 or email me at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US takes trade action against Rwanda – impact to Rwanda – minimal.

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As I blogged about at the end of May this year, the US and Rwanda was headed toward a trade war due to Rwanda imposing a $2.50 per kilogram duty on used clothing. The reason for the tariffs on second hand goods to Rwanda was a response from the Rwandan government to improve their domestic textile industry by making second hand clothes more expensive than new Rwandan-made clothing. In response to the tariffs of $2.50 per kilogram of used clothes to Rwanda, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), a US-based organization which represents companies that collect and resell Americans’ used clothing, complained the Rwanda tariffs will have a big impact on the $1 billion used clothing export industry.

The US threatened Rwanda with losing AGOA benefits for Rwanda textile exports to the US if the Rwanda duties on used clothing was not ended. With a May 28th deadline for Rwanda to reverse course, the US suspended duty-free benefits for apparel from Rwanda on July 31st.

While the Rwandan tariffs did have the impact of raising the price of used garments to be the same as Rwandan made textiles, the Deutsche Welle reports that the unintended consequence is a flood of new, cheap clothes from China that are priced below Rwandan-made textiles. It seems the impact on Rwanda is very minor as the total export value to the US was only $1.19 million for textiles. For the companies impacted, most have sought new markets in Europe instead.

Trump threatens tariffs on $267 billion in Chinese goods (not a typo).

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President Trump said on Friday (September 8th) he is ready to impose tariffs on $267 billion in goods from China, on top of the current $200+ billion plus in tariffs on goods. This past July, Trump imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports in July and then an additional $200 billion in tariffs.

With the threatened $267 billion, Trump will have imposed or threatened to impose a total of over $500 billion in imports from China. To put this amount into perspective, the US imported only $505 billion in Chinese goods in 2017. In short, Trump is threatening tariffs on everything imported from China.

On September 6th, the U.S. Trade Representative finished accepting comments on the List 3 of tariffs that could impact up to $200 billion in Chinese goods.

More updates will be posted as they become available.

If you have any questions about how List 1, 2, 3 and upcoming proposed tariffs will impact your business – or how you can file comments or exclusions, contact experienced trade and customs attorney – David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

New Zealand to ratify CPTPP (TPP) in December or early January 2019.

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According to Radio New Zealand, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) will be in force around December of 2018 after New Zealand plans to be the first of six countries to ratify the agreeement.

As of today, Japan, Mexico and Singapore have ratified the agreement with Australia, Chile and now New Zealand soon to ratify.

In addition to the 11 countries, Colombia, Thailand and South Korea along with Britain also expressed interest in joining the CPTPP.

United States-Mexico Trade Agreement

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The US and Mexico reached a tentative agreement that overhauls the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Part of the agreements reached between the parties include:

  1. Stricter rules for Mexican car exports to the US – including a requirement that 75% of the content be made in North America and 40-45% of the content made with workers earning at least $16/hour (three times more than Mexico’s minimum wage). This has the goal of discouraging companies to relocate to lower wage Mexico.
  2. Mexico has agreed to pass a law giving workers the right to union representation, and to adopt labor laws that meet UN standards.
  3. Certain steel and aluminum must be sourced in North America
  4. New rules to country of origin for textiles, chemicals, industrial goods.
  5. Intellectual property, copyright holders will have copy right protection in markets of all member countries.
  6. Digital trade, tariffs will be prohibited for digital products that are distributed electronically.
  7. Agriculture, the US and Mexico agreed not to impose tariffs on each other’s agricultural goods and not to use export subsidies.

Call David Hsu if you have any further questions on the new U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Dangers of Wood Packaging Materials (WPM) to your supply chain.

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Wood packaging materials (WPM) and the presence of invasive species puts your supply chain at great risk. As you are aware, CBP has strict regulations regarding the use of WPM in shipping goods from overseas. The regulations are in place to stop the spread of non-US invasive species that may wreak having on the US domestic ecosystem if the species are introduced into the US.

CBP previously has a published tolerance of five WPM violations prior to issuance of a penalty. However, after November 1, 2017, responsible parties with WPM violations may be issued a penalty after only one violation!

Why stop invasive species?
As the name implies, exotic invasive species are frequently brought into the US through use of wood packing materials. Most frequently found are “wood boring” insects that are able to make holes in the wood to lay larve. The species threaten  agriculture, forestry and other ecosystems where there may exist no natural predators.

How does Customs regulate WPM?
Wood packaging materials imported into the US are required to be treated before importation. The WPM must display a visible mark certifying treatment  on at least 2 sides – the mark must also be approved by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in its International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade.

Non-exempt wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the United States must have been treated at approved facilities at places of origin to kill harmful timber pests that may be present. The WPM must display a visible, legible, and permanent mark certifying treatment, preferably on at least 2 sides of the article. The mark must be approved under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in its International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade.

What if there is a WPM violation?
In the event of a WPM, CBP will issue a “Emergency Action Notification” (EAN) to the responsible party (party whose bond was obligated). The EAN will give the responsible party certain time to comply. Typically the solution may be to re-export the goods for fumigation and then re-import. Re-exporting the goods disrupts your supply chain and

What are the other penalties?
If a party fails to comply with the terms of EAN, CBP may issue a liquidated damages penalty.

Do you have any questions about WPM violations or have you been issued an Emergency Action Notification for WPM violations?

Call experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com