Japan and Peru seek early implementation of TPP.

ancient architecture city clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

According to Retuers, Japan and Peru’s foreign ministers are working on an early implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to promote free trade between the two countries. Currently there are 11 members to the TPP. While an agreement has been reached between the parties, the implementation is not yet effective until enough countries ratify the agreement.

Japan has already ratified the pact, but 5 more countries need to ratify before the TPP will take effect.

One main reason for the Japan, Peru efforts may be due the year 2019 marking the 120th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Peru.

If you have any TPP questions or other trade, import, or customs questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Current US Tariff Action Deadlines

view of city at airport

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I receive many questions about the deadlines for all the various tariff actions, I thought I’d post all the upcoming deadlines for your convenience.

If you have any questions regarding any 301 or 232 duties or are interested in filing of comments or an exclusion, or need assistance filing a response to comments, feel free to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

August 20-23 – Public hearing in DC for List 3

August 23, 2018 – 25% duty effective on List 2

September 6, 2018 – deadline to submit written comments for List 3

September 6, 2018 – deadline to submit post-hearing rebuttal comments

October 9, 2018 – deadline for product-specific exclusions for List 1

14 days after request for exclusion posted on docket – deadline for responses to requests for product-specific exclusion.

7 days after the close of response period – deadline for responses filed during the 14-day response period.

To Be Announced – 10% or 25% duty on List 3

Dulles CBP seizes $170k in unreported currency from 7 groups of travelers.

person holding pink piggy coin bank

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Busy day at Dulles airport where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized approximately $170,000 in unreported currency from 7 different travelers.

As you are aware, it is legal to carry large amounts of currency, however, all amounts over $10,000 must be reported. The $10,000 limit is not for the individual, but rather the limit for everyone in the traveling party.

The seizures in early August included:

  1. CBP seizes $21,735 from a woman boarding a flight to Belgium. The family reported $9,700.00. Typically, CBP first asks the traveler(s) to complete FinCen Form 105 to report the amount of currency they have. After the Form 105 is completed, CBP then searches the travelers’ belongings. In this instance, after the travelers signed the form, CBP did a thorough search and found $21,735 total.
  2. On July 30, a man was boarding a flight to Ghana when he CBP seized $30,721 in unreported currency.
  3. A family on the way to Turkey was detained and CBP seized $21,000 in unreported currency. In this seizure, CBP found cash concealed in clothing and cell phone cases.
  4. Another group of travelers traveling to Ghana were stopped and CBP seized $34,585 from them. The couple mistakenly reported $10,000 was carried by each person.
  5. CBP seized $18,390 from another couple going to Turkey.
  6. $20,645 was seized from another group of travelers heading to Qatar.
  7. Last, a passenger on the way to Serbia had $17,178 seized after she reported $8,000.00.

If you have had your cash seized, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

USTR finalizes “List 2” of Section 301 duties on Chinese goods – tariffs begin on August 23rd.

green and gray evergreen cargo ship

Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a bulletin today finalizing “List 2” of the tariffs of Chinese products known as “Section 301” duties.

List 2 goods will be subject to an additional 25% tariff on goods from China starting August 23rd. Out of the 284 proposed tariff lines, only 5 tariff lines were removed by the USTR.

List 2 covers approximately $16 billion worth of imports from China. The Section 301 duties are the US response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.

List 1 went into effect on July 6th and covered about $34 billion of imports from China.

There is no word on when List 3 will be finalized but based on 1 and 2, I believe sometime in December 2018.

If you are importing a good subject to the 301 duties, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu for a free legal consultation on what our firm can do for you: dhsu@givensjohnston.com or 832.896.6288.

GM applies for tariff exemption on their Buick Envision manufactured in China and subject to a 25% duty.

building skyscrapers detroit downtown

Photo by 500photos.com on Pexels.com

According to Reuters, General Motors (GM) is seeking to apply for a tariff exclusion on their Chinese-made Buick Envision. As the Buick Envision is made in China, imports of the vehicle to the US would be subject to a 25% tariff. According to the same article, sales of the Buick Envision total 19% of Buick brand sales in 2017.

According to GM authority, the automaker has currently sold 16,814 Envisions so far in 2018.

The tariff exclusions are also known as the “Section 301” tariff exclusions. Reuters cites the GM’s argument in the filing: “to invest in our U.S. manufacturing facilities and to develop the next generation of automotive technology in the United States” and that “assembly in our home market is not an option” due to low US sales numbers.

Besides applying for a Section 301 exclusion, GM shipped in a six-month supply of Envisions at the current 2.5% tariffs.

Will followup and update if/when the exclusion has been approved.

If your company would like to file a Section 232 or Section 301 exclusion, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Varidesk files complaint with International Trade Commission alleging patent infringement claims by other height-adjustable desk companies.

apple computer decor design

Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Coppell based Varidesk LLC, makers of the height-adjustable desk platform, has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

The section 337 complaint claims other importers of height-adjustable desk platforms and components are infringing upon Varidesk’s patents (9,113,703; 9,277,8009; 9,554,644; and 9,924,793.

After a complaint is filed, the ITC will investigate and after the investigation, they may issue a general exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

More updates posted when they become available – if you are under investigation by the ITC, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US ports first to be impacted if/when China tariffs become effective.

green and gray evergreen cargo ship

Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com

CNBC on July 28th indicated US ports as the frontline in the trade war with China. Citing interviews with port managers, the CNBC article claims imposition of more duties (estimated to total over $200 billion worth of Chinese goods) will result in cancelled shipments, less container traffic and lost jobs.

One port director from Long Beach believes further duties will impact the port, the state and the nation as a whole. The LA/LB port handled $173 billion in Chinese imports last year and account for 1/3 of all the shipped goods from China to the US.

Last year, $505 billion in goods arrived from China last year with about $130 billion in US goods to China. This difference in the goods arriving versus leaving is part of the $375 billion trade deficit President Trump vowed to lower while on the campaign trail in 2016.

There are currently in place tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods that resulted in China also imposing an equal $34 billion in US goods to the mainland. If List 2 and 3 become effective, the tariffs would cover around $200 billion more in Chinese goods.

The port director in Long Beach claimed the import business supports a million jobs throughout Southern California and slowdowns in China trade could result in layoffs, leading to loss of local and state tax revenues generated by business impacted by a slow down in trade.

If you have any questions how the tariff lists will impact your business, or for a free consultation on whether your goods are on one of the three lists, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce expected to present results of national security investigation into auto imports in August.

Wilbur_Ross_Official_Portrait

U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross Official Portrait

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (pictured above), will present his Department’s findings on the national security investigation of auto imports into the US later next month.

The report to President Trump could impact foreign automakers as the results may lead to the importation of new tariffs – up to 25% on imported cars and parts.

Earlier in May, the U.S. Department of Commerce started a “Section 232” investigation to determine whether imports of cars and parts pose a risk to U.S. national security. As you are aware, invoking Section 232 is the same rule Trump used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum at 25% back in March of this year.

Last week, foreign governments from Japan, Canada and the EU along with US industry groups met with Commerce to express opposition to the investigation. These groups argued higher tariffs would harm American consumers and workers along with the economy. Part of the harm would stem from an estimated increase in price of imported cars by $6,000 and price of domestic built cars by $2,000.

Check back for further news regarding the auto import tariffs as they become available.

How you can protect your company in light of the new China tariffs.

three white enclosed trailers

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

Since “List 1” of the tariffs on Chinese goods became effective on July 6th, we’ve had many calls from importers, forwarders and brokers on the best practices moving forward. Here’s a quick summary of what any importer should do regarding their imports of Chinese goods –

  1. Apply for a company-specific exclusion from the tariffs. The U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has published procedures for doing so on their website. The current approved exclusions are from steel tariffs with more exclusions to follow as Lists 2 and 3 take effect likely later this year.
  2. Review your classifications of imported merchandise. There may be more appropriate HTSUS numbers that your merchandise can be entered under and not subject to duties.
  3. Companies can also use the rules of origin to see if imported merchandise can be from another country other than China. This could result from moving the manufacture location, or moving the location of the “substantial transformation” of those goods.
  4. Adjust the valuation of the merchandise. See if the imported goods are properly valued.
  5. If merchandise is imported to the US for export out of the US, be sure property TIB, IT, T&E bonds are filed.
  6. No one likes surprises – it is best for importers, compliance, supply chain, sales and accounting to notify company management of potential tariff changes and the economic impact these new tariffs will have on profit and costs.

If you have any questions or want to know how your company can protect itself from these new duties, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Singapore ratifies trans-pacific trade deal.

architecture building buildings business

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Channel News Asia reported last Thursday that Singapore ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Originally known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the name was changed after the Trump Administration withdrew US support for the TPP after some members would not agree to US terms regarding pharmaceuticals and intellectual property protections.

Since the new CPTPP was created, only 3 nations have ratified the agreement (with Mexico and Japan as the only two countries to ratify the agreement. However, last Thursday, Singapore became the third after signing the CPTPP.

Terms of the CPTPP agreement concluded in January 23rd of this year and signed on March 8th. There are still 8 more countries that need to sign in order to ratify the treaty. Once all countries sign, the CPTPP will be in force 60 days later.