Get a refund of your List 3 and List 4A duties paid.

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A recent lawsuit filed in Federal court will address the question whether President Trump and his Administration lawfully imposed additional “trade war” duties on certain goods imported from China. The lawsuit alleges the goods included on “List 3” and “List 4A” were unlawfully enacted – and as such, importers who paid for the List 3 and 4A duties are entitled to a refund of duties paid with interest.

More specifically, the case of HMTX Industries LLC, et. al., v. US will determine whether the US did not comply with the applicable law when implementing the List 3 and List 4A duties on certain imports from China.

Importers who wish to preserve their opportunity to receive future refunds must act quickly to file their own “piggyback” actions in the CIT, as the lawsuit alleges a 2 year limitations period expiring Monday, September 21, 2020.

David Hsu and the trade law firm of Givens & Johnston stand ready to immediate file both CIT actions and CBP protests. To get the process started, contact David Hsu directly by phone/text to 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com,

Hong Kong could lose special status and trade benefits.

Last year, the US passed a law that requires Hong Kong to retain independence to qualify for the continued favorable trading terms with the US. I mentioned this in my blog post on June 15th, 2019 here.

The bill requires the US Secretary of State to certify each year that Hong Kong remains autonomous from China. If Hong Kong does not pass the certification of independence from China, then Hong Kong would lose trade privileges with the US (goods from Hong Kong will now be subject to duties on goods from China).

Fast forward almost a year later – where in late May China’s central government passed a national security law to apply to Hong Kong (as Hong Kong has not been able to pass such a law since they were handed back to China in 1997). The new security law would ban secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, foreign intervention and allows mainland China’s state security agencies to operate in the city.

After passage of the security law, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress that Hong Kong was no longer independent from China – signaling a potential move towards Hong Kong not passing certification.

If Hong Kong loses it’s special status a big impact would be on tariffs on goods from Hong Kong would now apply. This would impact over $66 billion in trade according to 2018 trade numbers. In 2018, Hong Kong was America’s third-largest market for wine, 4th largest for been and seventh largest for agricultural products.

If you have any questions how your imports or exports to and from Hong Kong may be impacted, contact David Hsu 24/7 by phone/text to 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

China announces 80% tariffs on Australian barley – the new trade war?

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That escalated quickly! In addition to banning imports of Australian beef, the Chinese government announced on Monday, May 18th, 2020 an 80% tariff on Australian barley exports starting today.

The tariffs are likely in response to Australia’s government demanding an inquiry into the cause of the corona virus. The Chinese President Xi Jinping has claimed China acted “with openness and transparency” in their handling of the outbreak.

Also on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) also agreed to launch an independent probe into how they handled the international response to the corona virus. The countries requesting the investigation included African, European and other countries and is looking for a review of the WHO’s response to the corona virus outbreak.

In response to the new tariffs, Australia’s Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham on Monday night denied Australia had subsidized or dumped barley in China. Will be following this news carefully as China accounts for 33% of Australia’s total exports at $135 billion in 2019.

US pork exports to China increase while US faces meat shortage.

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As part of Phase 1 of the US/China trade deal, China agreed to purchase more US goods and one such product has been pork to replace 1/3 of China’s hog population that was decimated in mid-2018 due to African swine fever. Besides pork, China also imported more US beef and poultry products after lifting a prior ban on US poultry. However, one downside of the Phase 1 trade deal has been exasperated by the meat processing plant closing as a result of COVID-19 infections. This has created the issue of too much meat being exported and not enough fresh meat being stocked in US grocery stores.

The U.S. meat shortage and the Phase 1 goals of increasing exports to China seem to be opposing forces, raising the question of whether sales and shipments will or should be limited. Some restrictions would not be surprising given U.S. President Donald Trump’s more combative tone in his recent comments on trade with China.

March 2020 saw the second highest volume of pork to China with the US exporting 95,892 tons, with a combined total of 280,507 tons of pork and pork product exported so far in 2020 (an increase of 300% over the first three months of 2019) with chicken feet being the largest exported US poultry item to China. The combined value of all pork, beef and poultry exports to China for January to March of 2020 totaled $781 million.

If you have any questions about the China trade deal or the 301 duties, contact David Hsu anytime by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

New rules on exports to China, effective June 29, 2020.

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Yesterday, the Federal Register published new guidelines by the Bureau of Industry and Security governing the export, reexport and transfer of goods to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to expand license requirements on exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) of items intended for military end use or military end users in the People’s Republic of China (China).

The first major change will require U.S. companies to obtain a license before selling certain items in China that can support the military, even if the products are for civilian use. Previously, a loophole allowed an exception for civilian technology to be exported with a license.

The new regulations will impact several industries in the US, such as the semiconductor industry.

The second major change will require U.S. companies to file declarations for all exports to China, regardless of value.

A third proposed rule change will require foreign companies shipping American goods to China to seek approval from the US prior to export.

There will be a brief comment period to collect information on the proposed changes.

If you would like to submit a comment, or if you would like an evaluation of your company’s export (and import) compliance program, or have any trade questions – contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at anytime: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com

USDA allows citrus imports from China as part of Phase One trade deal.

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As part of the “Phase One” trade deal between the US and China, market access for Chinese citrus products was one requirement. However, US citrus growers, specifically those in Florida’s citrus industry sent a letter opposing the import of Chinese citrus. The main reasons for opposing citrus from China was the risk of invasive pests and diseases, specifically the fruit fly pest that may damage Florida citrus products and potentially damage other crops such as avocados, blueberries, peaches, peppers, persimmons and tomatoes.

In addition to natural risks, critics also cite the economic disadvantage of foreign competition during the COVID-19 crisis. The letter to the USDA also cited a topic covered previously on our blog – the dumping allegations of Mexican tomato growers. Florida tomato growers are already impacted by the competition of Mexican tomatoes, and the last thing tomato growers need to worry about is the risk of invasive pests from potential imports of Chinese citrus products.

Other opponents to the Phase One trade deal allowing access to Chinese citrus producers include Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Florida Department of Agricultre and Consumer Services and the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association.

While there is strong opposition to these imports, the opposition will likely not be enough to change Phase One of the trade deal.

If you will be importing citrus fruits – be sure you are in compliance, give David Hsu a  call/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

90-day suspension of tariff payments.

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Last Sunday, the Treasury Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced a rule delaying payment of tariffs on certain goods coming into the US for 90 days. The announcement indicated the U.S. importer seeking a 90-day delay must “demonstrate a significant financial hardship” and also must have work operations that are “fully or partially suspended during March or April 2020 due to orders from a competent governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings.”

While providing some relief to importers, the announcement was not a complete tariff delay for all imports as was sought by retailers. Other noticeable exceptions to the 90-day delay included steel and aluminum imports from China along with antidumping and countervailing duties.

If you are interested in seeing if your company is able to defer duty payments, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text anytime to 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

China tariff cuts coming soon?

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Last Thursday, the US Trade Representative’s office said they were seeking public comments on lifting additional Section 301 duties (tariffs) on Chinese imports for goods that could help the US fight the current coronavirus pandemic.

The public comments will allow anyone to submit comments if they believe modifications to the Section 301 tariffs may be necessary. Since the corona virus crisis started, the USTR granted exclusions for medical products from China that included medical masks, examination gloves and antiseptic wipes.

Even with the exclusions, the 20-month long duration of the Section 301 China duties still covers over $370 billion in Chinese imports.

A trade deal came into effect on February 15th known as “Phase 1”, but no new trade deals will be announced until after the corona virus crisis ends.

If you have would like to submit comments on what other goods should be excluded – contact experienced customs and trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

ITC publishes final determination of no material injury by imports of Fabricated Structural Steel from China, Canada and Mexico.

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About 30 minutes ago, the Federal Register published the final determination decision by the International Trade Commission finding no material injury by imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, China and Mexico. The Final Determination can be viewed here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-03-20/pdf/2020-05845.pdf

The petitioners have 30 days to file an appeal in court. If no appeal is filed, importers who paid duties may be eligible for a refund after the deadline to appeal expires.

If you want to learn more about getting a refund for your imports of fabricated structural steel from China, Canada or Mexico, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288, or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Treasury Department no longer designates China a currency manipulator.

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Two days prior to signing Phase One of the US/China trade deal, the Treasury Department announced they were removing China’s designation as a currency manipulator.

The Trump administration designated China as a currency manipulator in August 2019 when Trump accused China of intentionally weakening their currency to make their goods cheaper for sale overseas in light of the then-new tariffs.

Since August, the Treasury Department claims China has made promises to stop devaluation and to promote transparency and accountability.

While the August 2019 label as a currency manipulator received bipartisan agreement, this new move has received criticism from Democrat Senators who argue the label of “currency manipulator” should not be used as a bargaining tool in the ongoing US/China trade war.

As the signing date of Phase One approaches, I expect the Trump administration to release further details in multiple parts.

Feel free to contact David Hsu directly by phone/text at 832-896-6288 to discuss your China, trade and import/export related issues or send an email to attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com