Trump administration considering new tariffs on imported vehicles.

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Reuters reports the Trump administration may consider imposing new tariffs on imported vehicles based under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

A little bit of background – a section 232 investigation is conducted under the authority of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended and the purpose of a 232 investigation is to determine the effect of imports on the national security. Investigations may be initiated based on an application from an interested party, a request from the head of any department or agency, or may be self-initiated by the Secretary of Commerce.

Reuters reports the administration is currently considering tariffs of up to 25 percent for imported vehicles. As this was just announced, the plan is still not yet implemented and will receive much feedback from interest groups, foreign trading partners, domestic dealers of importer cars and anyone else involved in the import car business.

Check back for the latest news. If you have any questions about the current steel and aluminum tariffs initiated under section 232, contact experienced trade attorney – David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Commerce Department issues affirmative final circumvention ruling on steel from Vietnam.

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According to a May 21, 2018 news release on the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) website – the Commerce department announced an affirmative ruling on corrosion-resistant steel (CORE) and certain cold-rolled steel flat products (cold-rolled steel) imported from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) produced from substrate originating in the People’s Republic of China (China) are circumventing the antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on CORE and cold-rolled steel imported from China.

In order to avoid payment of duties, some manufacturers ship goods to another country not subject to duties, and from there send the goods to the United States. This practice is known as “transshipment” and we will likely hear more reports of transshipment as manufacturers look for ways to avoid the steel and aluminum duties.

While the steel here is produced in Vietnam, Commerce found circumvention of AD/CVD orders did occur because the subject merchandise is the same class or kind of merchandise subject to existing orders and completed or assembled in a third party country prior to importation to the US.

Commerce will notify Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue collecting cash deposits on imports of CORE and cold-rolled steel produced in Vietnam using Chinese-origin materials at an AD rate of 199.43 percent and CVD rate of 39.05 percent.

CBP will also collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of cold-rolled steel produced in Vietnam using Chinese-origin substrate at rates of 199.76 percent and 256.44 percent, respectively.

If you have any questions about this or any other AD/CVD order, call experienced antidumping attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

China will cut import duty on passenger cars from the US.

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According to a May 22nd Bloomberg article, China will cut import duty on passenger cars from the US. Here are the highlights from the article:

1. China will reduce the import duty on passenger cars from 25% to 10% or 15%
2. Duty on car parts will be reduced to 6%
3. China sold 28.9 million automobiles last year, 4.2% of those sales were imported cars
4. China imported $51 billion in vehicles in 2017, $13.5 billion from North America.
5. Tesla in talks with Shanghai government to open a factory. Tesla owner wants factory to be fully owned instead of a joint venture with a Chinese company.
6. China is working on changing regulations to permit foreign automobile makers to own more than 50% of joint ventures.

I believe these changes are more symbolic and reflect each country taking steps to improve the trade relationship between each other – the majority of GM and Ford vehicles are already made in China through joint venture partnerships.

CBP seizes prohibited ivory products in Seattle.

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CBP agriculture specialists at Sea-Tac
found ivory in the luggage of a couple
arriving from the Philippines on May 11. Photo Credit: CBP

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release dated May 22nd, Agriculture Specialists at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered a variety of prohibited ivory products (carved tusks) in the luggage of a husband and wife who arrived on a flight from the Philippines on May 11.

An x-ray and search of the traveler’s belongings revealed 34 pieces of carved elephant ivory, two carved hippopotamus tusks and two carved warthog tusks. The agriculture specialists contacted inspectors from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who inspected and seized the items. The couple also received a $500 fine for transporting the items in violation of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

If you or anyone you know has had a CBP seizure, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Deal reached to allow ZTE to purchase U.S. hardware and software?

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ZTE Campus in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China; By Brücke-Osteuropa – Own work, Public Domain

According to a Wall Street Journal article dated May 22nd, the US and China have reached a tentative deal on what steps ZTE could take in order for the Trump administration to remove the ban preventing U.S. companies from selling hardware and software to ZTE.

As previously mentioned on this blog, U.S. companies were barred for selling components and software to ZTE for a period of 7 years due to ZTE not complying with the terms of a 2017 plea deal for violations related to shipping US equipment to Iran and North Korea.

Citing sources close to the negotiation, the WSJ reported ZTE would need to make management changes, changes in the board and payment of additional fines.

Check back for more updates to the ongoing ZTE issue as they become available.

For any questions about denial orders, ZTE, customs or trade law, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP issues new withhold release order against cotton from Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan-map

Map of Turkmenistan from Wikipedia.

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a new withhold release order for goods suspected of being made by forced labor.

This time, a detention order (withhold release order) was issued against cotton from Turkmenistan. The May 18, 2018 WRO includes “all Turkmenistan Cotton or products produced in whole or in part with Turkmenistan cotton”.

Importers are expected by CBP to be informed whether the goods they import are subjec to WRO’s. A full list of current imports subject to WRO’s can be found here.

Background regarding CBP’s efforts against forced labor:
Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307) bans the importing of merchandise that is mined, produced or manufactured, in whole or in part, in any foreign country by forced labor/child labor. Such merchandise is subject to seizure or excluded from importation into the US.

When information reasonably but not conclusively indicates that subject merchandise is being imported, Customs may issue withhold release orders pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 12.42(e). If the Commissioner is provided with information sufficient to make a determination that the goods in question are subject to the provisions of 19 U.S.C. § 1307, the Commissioner will publish a formal finding in the Customs Bulletin and in the Federal Register.

A withhold release order will require detention at all US ports of entry of any such merchandise manufactured by these companies. Withhold release orders are usually issued against types of goods and specific producers from specific countries.

If you have had issues regarding importation of good subject to a withhold release order, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

In Houston and want to learn more about U.S. Export Controls?

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The The Bureau of Industry and Security, Outreach and Educational Services Division will hold a conference regarding “Complying with U.S. Export Controls”

Date: June 12-13, 2018

Location: Norris Conference Center, Houston, TX (City Centre)

About the program (from the BIS website):

Complying with U.S. Export Controls

The two-day program is led by BIS’s professional counseling staff and provides an in-depth examination of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The program will cover the information exporters need to know to comply with U.S. export control requirements on commercial goods. We will focus on what items and activities are subject to the EAR, steps to take to determine the export licensing requirements for your item, how to determine your export control classification number (ECCN), when you can export or reexport without applying for a license, export clearance procedures and record keeping requirements, and real life examples in applying this information. Presenters will conduct a number of “hands-on” exercises that will prepare you to apply the regulations to your own company’s export activities. This program is well suited for those who need a comprehensive understanding of their obligations under the EAR. Technical, policy, and enforcement professionals from BIS, as well as specialists from other agencies such as the Bureau of the Census, will participate.

About the Instructors

The instructors are experienced export policy specialists, engineers, and enforcement personnel from BIS’s Washington, D.C. headquarters and field offices, as well as representatives from other U.S. government agencies as appropriate. The instructors will be available throughout the seminar to answer your questions on how the export regulations affect the export activities of your organization or client.

Location/time

The program will be held at Norris Conference Center located at 816 Town & Country Blvd. Suite 210, Houston, Texas 77024. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. on June 12, 2018. The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m.

Registration

The registration fee for the Complying with U.S. Export Controls seminar is $525 per person before May 11, 2018 and $575 after. To register for both this program and the Technology Controls seminar on June 14, 2018, the fee is $775 before May 11 and $845 after. The fee includes continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunches and materials for the entire seminar. Fee is not refundable after May 18, 2018. Substitutions may be made. To guarantee placement for the BIS seminar: Click here to register.

If you have any questions about BIS, export controls or customs law, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 713-932-1540 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

 

Givens and Johnston will give an AD/CVD presentation to the HCBFFA.

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On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Scott Johnston, James Garland Hurst and Luis Arandia of Givens and Johnston, PLLC will present a half-day program regarding Anti Dumping/ Countervailing Duties.

Topics covered include:

1. What are orders

2. Overview

  • a. Process
  • b. Scopes
  • c. Updates

3. Meaning of Case numbers

4. How to Research AD / CVD

5. Scope Determinations

6. Administrative Review

7. Petitions

8. What is Critical Circumstances

9. CBP Role in AD / CVD

10. Origin irregularities

11. Collection

12. Sunset Reviews

13. Other Trade Remedies

14. Section 232 – 301

15. Current Trade Issues

CCS / CES Point Information:  

This event has been approved for 3.5 NCBFAA CCS points.

For more details and to register, visit HCBFFA.org

 

Does the NAFTA certificate of origin have to be in English?

NAFTA Cert

I am frequently asked if the NAFTA Certificate of Origin has to be in English.

The short answer is no –

The rule (in bold) states:

Section A – Certification of Origin

Article 501: Certificate of Origin

  1. The Parties shall establish by January 1, 1994 a Certificate of Origin (CO) for the purpose of certifying that a good being exported from the territory of a Party into the territory of another Party qualifies as an originating good, and may thereafter revise the Certificate by agreement.
  2. Each Party may require that a Certificate of Origin for a good imported into its territory be completed in a language required under its law.

For importations into the US, the NAFTA CO can be in English, Spanish or French, however, Customs does have the right to request any non-English certificate to be translated into English.

Let me know if you have any other NAFTA questions. If enough people ask I’ll post the reply on this blog.

Updated List of Countries Requiring Cooperation With an International Boycott.

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The Department of the Treasury is required under section 999(a)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to publish a list of countries which require or may require participation in, or cooperation with an international boycott.

As of 5/16/2018, these countries include:

Iraq

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Syria

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

The full Federal Register notice can be found here.

Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC)

Overview
The United States Export Administration Regulations (EAR) require all US persons (individuals, corporations) to report requests they have received to take actions to comply with, or support an unsanctioned foreign boycott. The Treasury Department publishes a quarterly list of “boycotting countries.”

 

What do the Laws Prohibit?
Conduct that may be penalized under the TRA and/or prohibited under the EAR includes:

(1) Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
(2) Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.
(3) Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
(4) Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.
(5) Implementing letters of credit containing prohibited boycott terms or conditions.

 

How To Report?:
All requests for boycott participation is required quarterly and can be filed electronically or by mail (Form BIS 621-P or BIS 6051P). BIS 621-P should be used for single transactions and BIS 6051P for multiple transactions in which boycott requests may have been received in a calendar quarter.

 

If you have any questions about boycotts, contact experienced trade and compliance attorney, Davis Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com.