U.S. House passes USMCA, next stop the Senate.

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As you are aware, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an updated version of the USMCA earlier this week. The passage by the House includes revisions to an agreement initially agreed to by the US, Mexico and Canada in September 2018.

The next step for the USMCA is the Senate, where it is not expected to be put to a vote until 2020.

What are some of the changes in the USMCA versus NAFTA?

  • If autos are to qualify for no tariffs, then 75% of the components must be manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States (currently at 62.5%).
  • 30% of the work on the vehicle must be performed by individuals making $16 or more per hour, with a 40% requirement in 2023.
  • The new agreement allows works in Mexico to unionize.
  • The definition of steel and aluminum for Mexico in regards to the automotive rules of origin includes “melted and poured” in North America.
  • USMCA will be subject to mandatory review every 6 years, if all parties agree, then there is a 16 year period for review, with subsequent reviews every 16 years.

If you have any further questions how your business may be impacted by the USMCA if and when it is passed next year, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Canada’s Global Affairs consults whether South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK should join CPTPP.

The Global Affairs Canada organization includes individuals, businesses (including SMBs), industry associations, experts, consultants, academics, civil society organization, labour unions, governments, indigenous groups, students and youth and other interested Canadian stakeholders.

In late July, Global Affairs Canada started discussions whether South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”).

An announcement was published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1. Global Affairs Canada has has begun soliciting comments for whether these countries (and China) should join the CPTPP. The deadline for submissions is midnight, August 25, 2019.

The announcement asks for the following information:

1. Contributor’s name and address and, if applicable, the name of the contributor’s organization, institution or business;
2. The specific issues being addressed; and
3. Where possible, precise information on the rationale for the positions taken, including any significant impact it may have on Canada’s domestic or international interests.

Additionally, they would like feedback on specific markets that Canadians and businesses would support entry to the CPTPP.

The full text of the announcement and additional topics Global Affairs Canada would like feedback on can be found here:

http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2019/2019-07-27/html/notice-avis-eng.html#nL5

 

14 House Democrats ask Nancy Pelosi to bring vote on USMCA.

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A group of 14 House Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to to bring a vote by the end of the year on USMCA, the renegotiated trade with Canada and Mexico to replace NAFTA.

The letter to Speaker Pelosi reads:

“It is imperative that we reach a negotiated agreement early in the fall. Canada and Mexico are by far our most important trading partners, and we need to restore certainty in these critical relationships that support millions of American jobs.”

The 14 House Democrats:

Colin Allred (D-Texas)
Scott Peters (D-Calif.)
Kendra Horn (D-Okla.)
Haley Stevens (D-Mich.)
Anthony Brindisi (D-NY)
Joe Cunningham (D-SC)
Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas)
Ben McAdams (D-UT)
Josh Harder (D-Calif.)
J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.)
Sharice L. Davids (D-Kansas)
TJ Cox (D-Calif.)
Susie Lee (D-Nevada)
Greg Stanton (D-Arizona)

If you have questions how the new USMCA will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Canadian Conservative leader Andrew Scheer calls for more inspections on Chinese imports and potential tariffs.

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According to Canada’s National Observer, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step up inspections on all products from China and to consider levying tariffs on imports on Chinese imports.

The request was sent by letter last Friday in which Scheer urged Prime Minister Trudeau to take a harder line on China’s second largest trade partner. China detained two Canadians in December just days after Canada arrested Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition warrant. Additionally, China has increased inspections that have led to the suspension or obstruction of key Canadian agricultural imports, including pork and canola. Last week, China announced an additional suspension of all imports of Canadian meat products because of claimed concerns over fraudulent inspection reports.

In Scheer’s publicly released letter, he writes: “There is no other way to put this: Canada is being bullied by the Chinese government and you have done nothing to stand up for Canada in response”. Scheer asks Prime Minister Trudeau to increase Canadian inspection of all imports from China and the potential of placing tariffs on some of the $75 billion worth of goods imported from China last year.

Canada bans importing/exporting shark fins.

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According to the website politics.ca, the Canadian government revised their Fisheries Act to protect fish habitat, enact new sustainability efforts and banning the import and export of shark fins in Canada.

The United States still allows the importation and exportation of shark fins – however, each state has their own specific laws about the transportation of shark fins within state lines – some states require the fin to be attached to the body, others don’t. Before you move your shark fins, contact David Hsu first.

Also, if you have encountered any problems with US Fish and Wildlife regarding your importation or exportation of shark fins – feel free to David Hsu a call/text at 832-896-6288, or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, or attorney.dave@yahoo.com. The rule on shark fins is complex and the penalties are great.

Mexico approves draft law to ratify USMCA.

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This past Friday, several commissions in Mexico’s Senate passed a draft law that would ratify the new trade deal with the United States and Canada – the USMCA.

The law creating the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, is set for a vote with the entire Senate this upcoming Tuesday.

The Senate leader of the Morena Party, Ricard Monreal said the trade deal will be signed and ratified this month.

Trump is currently waiting for the Democrat-led House to review the deal.

President Trump lifts steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

 

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Last week, President Trump lifted steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico to improve the chances of Congress approving a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

President Trump withdrew tariffs of 25% and 10% duties steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico imposed a year ago. In return, Canada and Mexico said they would lift retaliatory duties on many American goods, including farm products. In addition to withdrawing the steel and aluminum tariffs, Trump also postponed the imposition of new tariffs on imported automobiles and automobile parts.

With a Democrat-led Congress, whether the US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) passes is uncertain as Congressional Democrats want changes covering the enforcement of labor rights and duration of drug companies keeping an exclusivity for their products.

Huawei CFO arrested in Canada for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

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According to Bloomberg – Huawei’s CFO, Wanzhou “Sabrina” Weng was arrested in Canada on December 1st over Huawei’s potential violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Sabrina Weng is the deputy chairwoman and daughter of Huawei founder Zhengfei Ren.

The arrest prompted China’s embassy in Canada to demand Sabrina be released and for the US and Canada to “rectify wrongdoings” and to “to clarify the grounds for the detention, to release the detainee and earnestly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the person involved”.

It is not known when or if Sabrina will be expedited to the US.

Check back for more updates as they are available. If you have any questions about your company’s compliance with US export controls and or want to ensure your company is in compliance with all the sanctions and laws regarding exporting, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

USMCA Signed at G20 Summit.

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As expected, the USMCA was signed by President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a replacement for the NAFTA agreement entered in 1994 between the 3 countries.

While the agreement was signed today, each of the legislatures from the three countries will still need to ratify the agreement before it takes effect.

A full text of the agreement can be viewed here.

If you have any questions how the USMCA may impact your business, call experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

The NAFTA (USMCA) loyalty oath?

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As has been widely reported, the new NAFTA agreement (USMCA) contains what has been branded a “loyalty oath” among the US, Canada and Mexico.

What is this “loyalty oath”?
In short, the oath says that in the event any USMCA member enters into a free trade agreement (FTA) with a non-market country, the other two remaining countries can leave the agreement and form their own bilateral trade pact.

Why is this clause in the USMCA?
This clause is likely an effort by the US Administration to isolate China economically since neither Canada or Mexico would want to leave the USMCA. This clause is also aimed at limiting the imports from China to Mexico/Canada for shipment into the US duty free.

Is a “loyalty oath” found in other trade agreements?
Currently, no, however this inclusion in the USMCA may be an indication of what will occur in future trade agreements to further isolate China from their trading partners.

Is the “loyalty oath” set in stone?
Right now, no, the disclaimer on the current USMCA text states: “Subject to Legal Review for Accuracy, Clarity, and Consistency Subject to Language Authentication“. Only upon ratification by all countries can we know for sure whether this is in the agreement.

What is a market or non-market economy?
This loyalty oath against non-market economies is likely aimed at China while not specifically named in the agreement. Beijing has asked for recognition as a “market economy” within the World Trade Organization (WTO) since their accession agreement expired in December 2016. If China is branded a “market economy”, this would limit trade remedies such as anti-dumping/countervailing duties to be used against Chinese imports.

What are the non-market economies around the world?
According to the European Union, besides China, the other non-market economies include Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Where can I read the full text of the “loyalty oath”
I could not find any news sources that cited the USMCA section.

The exact text of the oath is copied below:

4. Entry by any Party into a free trade agreement with a non-market country, shall allow the other Parties to terminate this Agreement on six-month notice and replace this Agreement with an agreement as between them (bilateral agreement).

The official PDF on the US Trade Representative website can be accessed here: (last accessed October 9, 2018).

https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/agreements/FTA/USMCA/32%20Exceptions%20and%20General%20Provisions.pdf

See Article 32.10 (4)

If you have any questions about NAFTA or the USMCA and how this may impact your business, call experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.