Chinese manufacturers return to China leaving ‘inefficient’ Vietnam.

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According to the South China Morning Post, some Chinese manufacturers that relocated to Vietnam due to the tariffs placed on imports to the US, are moving back to China or exploring manufacturing options in Thailand, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The SCMP article quotes a factory manager who said differences in culture (no over time in Vietnam and lower skill labor force) were two main causes of delays in delivery times and poor production numbers. With the tariffs in place, this has increased the demand for land and labor in Vietnam, causing costs to also increase. As foreigners cannot own land in Vietnam, there is also a risk for Chinese manufacturers to partner with a Vietnamese counterpart. Another factor leading to increased manufacturing costs for Chinese companies are the stricter labor and environmental protections, causing many Chinese companies to face fines for violations.

The current trade situation in Vietnam and US tariffs are forcing some manufacturers to look towards Thailand – attractive because of the stable political situation but high labor costs; Bangladesh which is relatively unknown to Chinese manufacturers and Myanmar which has low labor costs, but Myanmar faces sanctions due to their human rights abuses.

While not discussed in the SCMP article, the other big problem for Chinese manufacturers is the issue of how long the US 301 duties will remain in place. Just as spontaneously as the 301 duties were put in place, the 301 duties can also spontaneously end at the discretion of President Trump. I believe this unpredictability is the main question Chinese manufacturers must answer before spending the money and dedicating the time, resources, and manpower needed to move production to a foreign country.

If you have any questions regarding country of origin and how to avoid tariffs by moving production to other countries besides China, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US China Truce (for now)?

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Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

At this week’s G20 meeting, President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping agreed to a temporary truce and restart trade talks. This means the current U.S. tariffs will remain in place, but the trade penalties proposed for Section 301, List 4 will be put on hold pending an outcome of what will be the 12th round of trade talks.

List 4 covers approximately $300 billion in goods from China, and if in place, Lists 1-4 effectively cover every import from China.

However, both sides still differ on one item that may prevent a long term solution – trade secrets.

In response, China has also placed tariffs on $110 billion in US goods, mostly focusing on agricultural imports. Some believe the tariffs against farm products (and Trump supporters) are aimed towards pressuring Trump as he heads into the general election next year.

If you have goods under List 3 and want to file an exclusion, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

American New Balance shoe manufacturer opposes expanding China duties.

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While New Balance in the past supported a tough trade policy in 2016, the American shoe manufacturer is now taking an about face as it imports a majority of its components from China.

While New Balance manufacturers about 4 million pairs of shoes a year in the US, it relies on the importation of components in order to do so – and a majority of those components are from China. New Balance claims the parts they need that are covered under “List 4” are no longer available in the United States.

A letter from New Balance indicated the new tariffs would impact their ability to reinvest and manufacture shoes in the US. New Balance will join more than 300 executives from other companies to testify against the List 4 goods this week.

Will post more news from the hearings starting tomorrow as they become available. If you have questions whether your imports will be covered under “List 4”, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China backtracked on nearly all aspects of US trade deal: Sources.

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According to a report published by CNBC.com, a diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived into Washington on Friday night with edits to a 150-page draft trade agreement containing what was described by CNBC citing Reuters as “riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands”.

The CNBC report further details the changes to the seven chapter trade deal:

1. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war:

2. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets;

3. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve forced technology transfers;
4. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve competition policy;

5. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve access to financial services; and

6. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve currency manipulation.

The U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer viewed the changes to the China law as necessary to verifying compliance after years of what U.S. officials have called empty reform promises.

The CNBC report further continues saying the Chinese negotiators said they couldn’t touch the laws, said one of the government sources, calling the changes “major” and that changing any law in China requires a unique set of processes that can’t be navigated quickly.

Will post more news regarding the US/China trade war as they become available. If you have any questions about List 3 tariffs or have questions on what your company can do in light of these China tariffs, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry wins case against Chinese cast iron pipe producers.

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Last week, the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously in favor of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry in their anti-dumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petition against imports of cast iron soil pipe from the People’s Republic of China.

A vote in favor of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry means the U.S. Department of Commerce determined that Chinese producers or exporters undersold the subsidized cast iron soil pipe in the US. AD/CVD duties are to level the playing field and cast iron soil pipe imported into the US from China will include duties ranging 251% to 345%. These additional duties go info effect immediately.

If you are a Chinese exporter or want to know how these new duties impact your business – regardless of whether you import or export, give David Hsu a call at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

China imports zero U.S. soybeans in November – first time since trade war started.

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According to Reuters, China imported zero U.S soybeans in November, the first time since the trade war started earlier this year. China is the world’s largest soybean buyer and according to Reuters, sourced soybeans from Brazil to replace U.S. soybean imports.

China imported 5.07 million tonnes of soybeans from Brazil in November whereas U.S. soybean imports dropped to only 67,000 tonnes in October (a sharp drop from the 4.7 million tonnes imported to China in November 2017).

Trade in soybeans totaled over $12 billion in 2017 when the U.S. was the second largest supplier of soybeans to China. U.S. soybean imports have a duty of 25%, the same percentage the Trump administration levied on over $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Check back for the latest news. If you have any questions on how to importing/exporting or how the China duties may impact your business – contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dattorney.dave@yahoo.com.

China suspends 25% tariff increase on US vehicles and auto parts.

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According to the Associated Press this morning, China announced a 90-day suspension of increased tariffs on $126 billion of US cars, trucks and auto parts.

The suspension on Friday was likely a response to President Trump’s December 1st decision to suspend tariff hikes that were set to begin January 1st. These initial China tariffs of 25% were in response to Trump’s 25% tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

The US and China are still working on a solution to solving the trade dispute but no face to face negotiations have been set. Check back for more details as they are available.

China purchases additional 500,000 tons of U.S. soybeans.

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According to CNBC – following the meeting between President Trump and President Jinping Xi earlier this month, Chinese state-owned companies purchased 500,000 tons of U.S. soybeans valued at $180 million.

While the purchase does help, CNBC reports that American farmers have only sold 8.2 million metric tons of soybeans to China this year, down from 21.4 million metric tons during the same period last year.

In addition to U.S. soybean farmers being impacted by the trade war, China is also facing a shortage of soybean supplies and it was reported that in September, Chinese officials considered cutting the soy ration for hogs.

Check back for more news as they become available.

Highlights from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the International Import Expo.

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As reported by CNN, Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the China International Import Expo in Shanghai with a speech on Monday.

Here’s a summary of the opening remarks and some observations made by CNN:

-The International Import Expo is to highlight China as a destination for foreign goods
-No senior US government officials attended the event
-President Xi Jinping said protectionism should not be a part of international trade
-Over 3,600 companies from over 150 countries participated
-President Xi and President Trump will meet later this month at the G20 summit in Argentina
-President Xi Jinping promised to open the Chinese economy further to international investment and protect foreign businesses already operating in China

If you have any questions regarding export compliance of goods sent to China, contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

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.