China to cut import tariffs on wide range of products.

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According to Reuters, China’s finance ministry will reduce import tariffs on textiles and metals from 11.5% to 8.4% on November 1st. Tariffs on wood and paper products, minerals and gemstones will be cut from 6.6% to 5.4%.

The reduction in tariffs on imports is part of Beijing’s efforts to increase imports this year and likely due to the current trade situation between China and the United States.

November 1st marks the second time in which China reduced import tariffs – the first reduction occured in early July and covered import tariffs on mostly consumer items – such as clothing, home appliances, fitness products among others.

Qualcomm asks Judge to block iPhone imports – Judge says no because of “public interest factors”.

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Qualcomm appeared in front of the US International Trade Commission Judge on Friday to request a ban on the importation of Apple iPhones due to Apple phones infringing Qualcomm’s patent related to power management technology. Apple’s position is that Qualcomm is requesting royalties for technology unrelated to Qualcomm.

The administrative law judge, Thomas Pender, found Apple did infringe on one patent, but denied the request for a ban citing “public interest factors”.

From my experience, CBP will readily and gladly detain and/or seize any import that infringes upon any intellectual property or trademark registered by the holder. We all know the reason why the Judge said he would not ban the importations of iPhones – he does not want to be known as “that guy” that banned importation of some iPhones to the US – especially due to the release of the new iPhone max and other variations.

Unfortunately, this decision highlights the rules being selectively applied to some and not to others.

If your imports have been detained or seized by Customs, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US and Canada working towards NAFTA agreement.

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According to Bloomberg, the US and Canada are working on keeping Nafta an agreement between the US/Mexico and Canada.

Bloomberg quotes Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo as saying the US and Mexico are postponing publishing the text of their two-way trade deal in the event the US and Canada reach an agreement.

 

US and Japan will negotiate a free trade agreement.

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During the UN meeting this week, the US and Japan agreed on Wednesday to negotiate a separate bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. While Japan is part of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the agreement by Japan to negotiate may be an effort to avoid the risk of tariffs on Japanese goods to the US – especially automobiles. This agreement to negotiate is a shift from Japanese economic policy as in the past Japan has not expressed interest in talking to the US.

 

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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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.