US Treasury Secretary Mnunchin may travel to Beijing for trade talks.

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77th United States Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin

Earlier this week, current US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters he may travel to Beijing for trade negotiations to ease U.S.-China tensions.

In recent weeks both countries have announced tariffs on goods imported from the other country and the tensions between the US and China (the world’s two largest trading partners) has raised concerns of an impending trade war. The US first proposed tariffs totaling $150 billion on Chinese imports and Beijing has proposed tariffs on American goods such as soybeans.

In response, the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China would “welcome” the move by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.

More updates as they become available.

EU wants to participate in the US-China steel dispute at the WTO.

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As previously posted on this blog, China requested consultations with the WTO regarding the US import tariffs on steel and aluminum. Requesting a consultation with the WTO is the first stage in the dispute process with the WTO and now the EU asked on April 23rd to join the dispute.

It is important to note that one week from now, President Trump will decide whether these tariffs would apply to imports from the EU. A temporary exemption from the 25% duty on steel and 10% duty on aluminum was granted for the EU until May 1st. Temporary exemptions were also granted to Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. South Korean imports have been exempted indefinitely.

In addition to the EU, Hong Kong, Russia, India and Thailand have also filed requests to join the consultations. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

 

Senate Finance Leaders Ask Commerce Secretary to Improve Tariff Exclusion Process.

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Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

According to the Senate Finance Committee website, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) urged the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to implement improvements to the Commerce Department’s process for excluding products from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

In short, the letter voices concerns that the process lacks “basic due process and procedural fairness for stakeholders, especially American small businesses” and “appropriate mechanisms to prevent the Section 232 tariffs and product exclusion process from being abused for anticompetitive purposes.”

The Senators write the exclusion request process requires submission of a “substantial amount of information at a minute level of detail” for each imported product and may increase the burden for small businesses. Additionally the Senators state the request and objection forms allow for ambiguity by the Commerce department to approve or deny a product. Lastly, Commerce has not specified how to protect business proprietary information, how to address ex parte communications, how to ensure consistent determination across similar petitioners and objectors.

A full text of the letter can be viewed here (scroll to the bottom, full letter in italics).

If you have any questions about the 232 exclusion process, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Latest CBP Instructions on Section 232 Investigations (April 11, 2018)

Donghai Service Port

Photocredit: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock

See below for the most recent instructions regarding the Section 232 Investigations. These instructions were released by the CBP, on April 11th. The original text can be found here.

Commodities: Unchanged and includes steel mill and aluminum articles as specified in proclamations.

COUNTRIES COVERED:
March 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018: All countries of origin except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and member countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

However, after May 1, 2018, all countries of origin.

Customs does make a note to remind readers that it is based on the country of origin, not the country of export.

ENTRY SUMMARY FILING INSTRUCTIONS:

Steel Products: importers shall use the HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to duty: 9903.80.01 (25 percent ad valorem additional duty for steel mill products)

Aluminum Products: importers shall use HTS classification: 9903.85.01 (10 percent ad valorem additional duty for aluminum products)

If the two above HTS numbers are not used for importers under Chapters 72, 73 and 76 for the covered countries of origin, these error messages will display:

E1 IQ10 LINE SUBJECT TO QUOTA

E1 FQ09 QUOTA NOT ALLOWED FOR ENTRY TYPE

E1 FQ05 BANNED IMPORT

E1 RF998 TRANSACTION DATA REJECTED

Note: Quota is not in effect, but this ACE functionality is being used to validate entry summary transmissions and reject when validations determine the data is missing the required chapter 99 number.

If importers or filers do not include the chapter 99 code with their Post Summary Corrections for imports under Chapters 72, 73 and 76, the above reject messages will also appear.

Importers may file a protest if they believe an entry was incorrectly liquidated.

Below are the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS from the CBP website copied for your convenience.

1. What is the timing of duty calculations on immediate transportation in bond entries subject to Section 232?

Pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations, duties are due on goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018.

19 CFR 141.69(b) states:

Merchandise which is not subject to a quantitative or tariff-rate quota and which is covered by an entry for immediate transportation made at the port of original importation, if entered for consumption at the port designated by the consignee or his agent in such transportation entry without having been taken into custody by the port director for general order under section 490, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended ( 19 U.S.C. 1490), shall be subject to the rates in effect when the immediate transportation entry was accepted at the port of original importation.

For such entries covered by an entry for immediate transportation, and with a country of origin and Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification subject to the Presidential Proclamations, such entries shall be subject to the duty rates in effect when the immediate transportation entry was accepted at the port of original importation.

Accordingly, entries of steel and aluminum articles covered by an entry for immediate transportation accepted at the port of original importation before March 23, may have been incorrectly rejected by CBP and/or incorrectly filed with a Chapter 99 steel or aluminum HTS classification.

CBP is working to address the incorrectly filed entries to alleviate the need for the trade to resubmit entry summaries, submit post summary corrections (PSC), or file protests. CBP is aware that some entry summaries incorrectly submitted with the Chapter 99 HTS classification may have a deadline approaching to pay the associated duties. CBP will fully consider the issues associated with these entries in enforcing the duty deadline and CBP will be addressing these entries promptly. Importers who incorrectly paid duties pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations on an AD/CVD entry, and want to request an administrative refund of these duties prior to liquidation, may file a PSC to request an administrative refund of these duties prior to liquidation.

2. Which Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) classifications under HTS 7616.99.51 are subject to the Section 232 duties.

Per the Presidential Proclamations, 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70 are subject to the Section 232 duties.

 

If you have any questions, call customs and trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Renegotiated KORUS FTA results in changes more favorable to US companies.

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According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative website, the Trump administration has negotiated additional favorable terms of the United States – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that went into effect in 2012.

Fulfilling part of his campaign promises, President Trump has re-negotiated the KORUS with these (and many more) favorable changes to US companies:

1. Korea will double the number of US automobile exports to 50,000 cars per manufacturer per year.

2. US automobile exports to Korea that meet US safety standards can enter the Korean market without further modification. This lowers the cost of US cars being sold in Korea as additional testing and modifications are not needed before the US cars are sold in the marketplace.

3. Korea will recognize US standards for auto parts to service US vehicles in Korea, this reduces the labeling burden for US parts manufacturers.

4. Korea will amend their Premium Pricing Policy for Global Innovative Drugs to ensure non-discriminatory and fair treatment for US pharamceutical exports.

5. Korea imports of steel products into the US will be subject to a product-specific quota equal to 70% for the average annual import volume of such products during the years 2015-2017, resulting in reduction of Korean steel shipments to the US.

If you have any questions regarding the KORUS or other trade and customs law issues, feel free to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

South Korea allows for increases on US auto imports in exchange for U.S. Steel tariff exemption.

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According to Reuters, the US and South Korea agreed on Monday (March 27th, 2018) to revise the KORUS bilateral free trade deal. As part of the deal, South Korea would improve access to U.S. automakers and in exchange the US would exempt Korean steel from the new Section 232 duty rates.

President Trump has always claimed the current KORUS agreement was “horrible” and lead to a doubling of the U.S. goods trade deficit with South Korea since 2012. While the terms have not yet been announced, the agreement likely makes South Korea is the first US ally to receive an indefinite exemption but still subject to quotas.

In addition to South Korea, Trump has temporarily excluded other major US trading partners Canada, Mexico, Australia and the European Union from higher U.S. import duties on steel and aluminium.

Check back for the latest news and as always, please contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com for all your trade and international law questions.

Section 232 – Duties do not apply to goods coming from these countries until May 1, 2018.

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Until May 1, 2018, the Section 232 duties do not apply to goods coming from:

• Argentina;

• Australia;

• Brazil;

• Canada;

• Mexico;

• the member countries of the European Union; and

• South Korea.

After that time, the President will review whether to continue exempting these countries from the order.

Furthermore, the most recent customs message also says that admissions into FTZs can only be made with a privileged foreign status, which closes the previous FTZ loophole.

Any Section 232 questions? Call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Cargo Systems Messaging Service – Additional Duties on Imports of Steel and Aluminum under Section 232 – March 22, 2018.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released Cargo Systems Messaging Service Number 18-000240 with additional information regarding the imports of steel and aluminum under Section 232.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CSMS #18-000240

Title:
Additional Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminum Articles under Section 232 Date: 3/22/2018 11:39:25 PM To: Automated Broker Interface, ACE Portal Accounts, ACE Reports, Air Manifest, New ACE Programming, Ocean Manifest, Partner Government Agencies, Rail Manifest, Trade Policy Updates, Truck Manifest  Additional Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminum Articles under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962

BACKGROUND:
On March 8, 2018, the President issued Proclamations 9704 and 9705 on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862), providing for additional import duties for steel mill and aluminum articles, effective March 23, 2018.  See the Federal Register, 83 FR 11619 and 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018.  On March 22, 2018, the President issued Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States.

These duty requirements are effective with respect to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018.

COMMODITY:
Steel mill and aluminum articles, as specified in the Presidential Proclamations.

COUNTRIES COVERED:
March 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018:  All countries of origin except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and  member countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

As of May 1, 2018:  All countries of origin.

Please note this is based on the country of origin, not the country of export.

ENTRY SUMMARY FILING INSTRUCTIONS:
Steel Products In addition to reporting the regular Chapters 72 & 73 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for the imported merchandise, importers shall report the following HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to the additional duty:9903.80.01 (25 percent ad valorem additional duty for steel mill products) Aluminum Products In addition to reporting the regular Chapter 76 of the HTS classification for the imported merchandise, importers shall report the following HTS classification for imported merchandise subject to the additional duty: 9903.85.01 (10 percent ad valorem additional duty for aluminum products)

Importers and filers failing to submit the required Chapter 99 HTS classifications with the entry summary information for imports under the specified Chapter 72, 73, and 76

HTS classifications for the covered countries of origin will receive the following reject messages:

E1 IQ10    LINE SUBJECT TO QUOTA

E1 FQ09   QUOTA NOT ALLOWED FOR ENTRY TYPE

E1 FQ05   BANNED IMPORT

E1 RF998 TRANSACTION DATA REJECTED

Note:  Quota is not in effect, but this ACE functionality is being used to validate entry summary transmissions and reject when validations determine the data is missing the required chapter 99 number.

Importers or filers receiving one of the reject messages above, who have researched their classification and dates to confirm the entry summaries were incorrectly rejected, should contact their assigned Client Representative with the results of their review.

Additional Information
Any steel or aluminum article subject to the Section 232 duties that is admitted into U.S. foreign trade zones on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018, must be admitted as “privileged foreign status” as defined in 19 CFR 146.41, and will be subject upon entry for consumption to any ad valorem rates of duty related to the classification under the applicable HTSUS subheading.

Any steel or aluminum article that was admitted into U.S. foreign trade zones under “privileged foreign status” as defined in 19 CFR 146.41, prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018, will likewise be subject upon entry for consumption to any ad valorem rates of duty related to the classification under applicable HTSUS subheadings imposed by the Proclamations.

The merchandise covered by the additional duties may also be subject to antidumping and countervailing duties.

CBP will issue additional guidance on entry requirements for any products excluded from these measures, as soon as information is available.  CBP will also issue updated guidance if there are any changes to these measures, including any changes to exempted countries and any new requirements, such as quota requirements.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:For more information, please refer to the Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, Federal Register, 83 FR 11619 and 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018; and the March 22, 2018 Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States.

Questions related to Section 232 entry filing requirements should be emailed to adcvdissues-hq@cbp.dhs.gov.

Questions from the importing community concerning ACE rejections should be referred to their Client Representative.

Federal Register just released the requirements for requesting exclusions under the most recent steel and aluminum – check back for summary.

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The Federal Register posted the interim requirements for requesting an exclusion from the most recent Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. Check back for a detailed summary.

The full text of the Federal Register interim final rules on requesting exclusions can be found here:

https://www.commerce.gov/sites/commerce.gov/files/federal_register_vol_83_no_53_monday_march_19_2018_12106-12112.pdf

For answers to all your Section 232 aluminum and steel questions, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

What are Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum?

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This post is in response to many queries we have received since last week’s announcement by President Trump of new tariffs effective March 23rd on aluminum and steel imports to the US under Section 232.

A Section 232 investigation is conducted under the authority of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The original purpose of a 232 investigation was to determine whether or not the import affects national security. The investigations are started based on an application from an interested party (usually a domestic producer), at the request of any department or agency head, or it may be self-initiated by the Secretary of Commerce.

The Secretary of Commerce then prepares a report to the President focusing on whether the importation of the article in question is in such quantities or under circumstances that threaten to impair national security. If the import impairs national security, the President can concur or not with the Secretary’s recommendations and take action to “adjust the imports of an article and its derivatives” or other non-trade related actions as deemed necessary.

The Secretary’s report to the President, prepared within 270 days of initiation, focuses on whether the importation of the article in question is in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security. The President can concur or not with the Secretary’s recommendations, and take action to “adjust the imports of an article and its derivatives” or other non-trade related actions as deemed necessary.

The last section 232 investigation occurred in 2001 regarding iron ore and semi-finished steel.

Last week, President Trump imposed a 25% global tariff on steel imports and a 10% global tariff on:

Aluminum imports, including the following products:
7601.10 Aluminum, Not Alloyed, Unwrought
7601.20 Aluminum Alloys, Unwrought
7604 Aluminum bars, rods and profiles
7605 Aluminum wire
7606 Aluminum plates, sheets and strip, over 0.2mm
7607 Aluminum foil (whether or not printed or backed with paper or other backing materials)
7608 Aluminum tubes and pipes
7609 Aluminum tube or pipe fittings
7616.99.5160 and 7616.99.5170 Aluminum castings

Steel products within the broad scope of the global tariffs:
Carbon and alloy flat products;
Carbon and alloy long products;
Carbon and alloy pipe and tube products;
Carbon and alloy semi-finished products;
Stainless steel products.

If you have any questions about whether or not your imports may be subject to these new duties after March 23rd, contact AD/CVD attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.