Deal reached between the US and ZTE.

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Credit: Courtesy of ZTE Corporation

The US will end the ban on ZTE buying American software and hardware.

The terms of the deal require:
1. $1 billion penalty;
2. $400 million in escrow to be forfeited in the event of future export violations during the 10-year probationary period;
3. Compliance team in ZTE that will report to the company’s new chairman;
4. ZTE must change board and management team in 30 days.

Various online articles covering the US/ZTE deal ask what the US gets out of the ZTE deal.

None of the news sources mention that this deal saves ZTE and will lead to business for US suppliers of components and software to ZTE:

-Acacia Communications Inc
-Oclaro,
-Lumentum Holdings,
-FiberHome
-NeoPhotonics Corp
-Inphi Corp
-Finisar Corp
-Analog Devices Inc
-Xilinx Inc
-Qualcomm
-Qorvo Inc.
-Alphabet Inc

If you or anyone you know has questions about the ZTE deal or export compliance questions, feel free to contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

ZTE facing $1.7 billion penalty?

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Reuters reports the Trump administration may seek a penalty up to $1.7 billion from ZTE. In addition to the hefty fine, the U.S. Department of Commerce is also seeking unrestricted access to sites to verify US components are being used as claimed by ZTE.

As previously mentioned on this blog, ZTE is banned from purchasing from US hardware and software suppliers for 7 years due to violating U.S. export controls. This ban would severely limit ZTE’s ability to make phones as US companies provide 25-30% of the components in ZTE equipment, with ZTE paying over $2.3 billion to US suppliers.

As the penalty can change anytime – check back for more updates.

 

 

U.S. Commerce Secretary in China for trade talks.

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According to an Associated Press article from June 1st, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrived in Beijing on Saturday for talks on China’s promise to buy more American goods.

The talks are about China’s May 19th announcement to narrow the trade surplus with the US, which reached a record high of $375 billion USD last year. China previously indicated they would increase purchase of farm goods, energy and other goods and services.

Additionally, the US may not get the commitment it seeks in reducing the trade deficit as China’s “Made in China 2025” plan seeks to establish China as an industry leader in high tech industries such as robotics, computer chips and electric vehicles.

A resolution may not occur with just one meeting as Trump has threatened tariffs on $100 billion of Chinese goods and China threatening retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion of US goods.

Check back for the latest news of the results of the Secretary Ross meeting.

If you have any questions about current antidumping or countervailing duty actions on goods from China – feel free to call experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

It’s official – US issues trade tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, Canada and Mexico.

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The Whitehouse issued two presidential proclamations that placed 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs on imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

The full proclamations can be found here for steel and here for aluiminum.

If you have any questions on how these new tariffs will impact your business or what options you may have – contact experienced antidumping attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free evaluation.

Section 301 Duties to be announced by June 15, 2018.

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According to a Whitehouse.gov statement released today (May 29, 2018) titled: “Statement on Steps to Protect Domestic Technology and Intellectual Property from China’s Discriminatory and Burdensome Trade Practices” found here, the US will impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China “containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the “Made in China 2025” program.  The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018, and tariffs will be imposed on those imports shortly thereafter.

What is the “Made in China 2025” Program?
Made in China 2025 (Chinese: 中国制造2025) is a plan issued by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in May 2015 to make China more self-sufficient and a manufacturing superpower in high-tech industries. An English version of the initiative can be found here.

What is Section 301?
Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, authorizes the President to take all appropriate action, including retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.

Section 301 is worded in general terms and allows for broad discretion from the President.

What are other points mentioned in the press release?

  1. There will also be other restrictions and increased export controls for Chinese persons and entities and will be announced on June 30, 2018.
  2. The US will continue litigating in the WTO for violations of intellectual property against China related to licensing of intellectual property. The US filed the case with the TWO on March 23, 2018.

Check back here on June 15, 2018 for the final list and tariff amounts to be imposed on the goods from China. If you have any questions how these Section 301 tariffs will impact your business, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

No US-Rwanda Trade War Updates

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Flag of Rwanda via Wikipedia

A few days ago I posed about a pending US-Rwanda trade war over Rwanda’s import duty on second hand clothes imported into Rwanda.

My post mentioned a May 28th deadline in which the US asked Rwanda to reverse or reduce tariffs on imports of secondhand clothing – as of today, there has been no news. Yesterday (Monday, May 28th) was Memorial Day in the US, so a decision will likely be made some time this week.

US-Rwanda trade war?

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Flag of Rwanda via Wikipedia

Unexpected title I know, usually we associate “trade war” with “China”, however, the Trump administration has given Rwanda until May 28th to reduce the tax on imported clothes (the US is a major exporter of second hand clothes to Rwanda – ever wonder what happens to those “clothes and shoes” that are donated to the parking lot donation boxes?)

Background:
In 2016, the East African Community (EAC) composed of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda increased tariffs on used clothing. Specifically, Rwanda increased the duties by 20 cents to $2.50 per kilogram. This 20 cent increase is at risk of hurting Rwanda’s export benefits under the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The AGOA allows certain African countries (like Rwanda) duty-free access to the US market for 6,500 exported products. Since AGOA was passed, duty-free exports to the US from AGOA qualified countries have increased 400% to over 1.0 billion since the law was passed.

AGOA Products:
A full list of those products can be found here.

The Trump administration is threatening Rwanda with losing certain benefits under the AGOA after a compliant was filed last year from the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), a US-based organization which represents companies that collect and resell Americans’ used clothing. SMART claims the Rwanda tariffs have a big impact on the $1 billion dollar used clothing export industry.

Arguments from both sides:
SMART claims the Rwandan tariffs hurt their business while poor Rwandans also claim the increased prices of second hand clothes in Rwanda impact their ability to buy clothes at affordable prices. However, Rwanda’s government claims an increase in second-hand clothing prices will make locally made Rwanda clothes more price competitive. If the tariffs increase second-hand clothing prices and move people towards purchasing new Rwandan made clothes, the Rwandan government claims more factories will be built, more jobs will be created and the economy will improve.

What will happen?
Check back on May 28th, I will update as soon as I find anything. If anything, I’m expecting China to fill the void. A cursory search on Alibaba for “used clothes in bales” shows lots of offerings targeted for export to East Africa and the general African market.

The real reason Trump is working to reverse the 7 year ZTE ban? To help U.S. companies!

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President Trump via whitehouse.gov

I’ve read almost every ZTE-related article and no article has mentioned what I believe to be the real reason behind President Trump’s efforts to reverse or implement other alternatives to remove ZTE’s 7-year ban on purchasing U.S. hardware and software.

The real reason President Trump is trying to remove the ban is an effort to help US companies. US based companies such as Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom and Oclaro supply hardware to ZTE. Software companies such as Alphabet supply and provide the Android mobile operating system and updates found on ZTE phones. A 7-year ban means the Google Play Appstore will lose sales on both apps and in-app purchases.

While Trump has faced backlash from Congress, I believe Trump’s efforts are in the interest of helping US companies and improving their stock prices.

CNBC reports the US and ZTE are working on alternatives to the denial order issued against ZTE back in April of this year.

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Current Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC today that the US may consider other measures, such as placing compliance officers at ZTE. The compliance officers would report back to the Department of Commerce.

Background:
The Department of Commerce banned ZTE from purchasing hardware and software from U.S. manufacturers because ZTE was found to sell American parts to Iran and North Korea. The Commerce department prohibits the sale of US goods to North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Iran and Cuba. ZTE is most commonly known in the US for their smart phones but ZTE also manufactures telecomunications equipment.

Check back here for the latest news as they develop.

And if you have any export controls or export compliance issues – contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

ZTE estimated to lose $3.1 billion due to US sanctions (Bloomberg).

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Bloomberg news reported that China’s ZTE Corp is estimated to lose at least 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) due to Washington’s ban on U.S. firms hardware and software. The Bloomberg article cited unnamed sources.

Bloomberg also reports that ZTE is hopeful that the United States and China will be able to reach a deal that would remove the ban and has a plan in place allowing the telecoms firm to “swing idled factories into action within hours” of the ban being officially lifted.