Russia trying to legalise blood diamonds from the CAR.

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According to the Independent, Moscow claims the international ban is not working and seeks to end an international embargo on diamonds exported from the Central African Republic (CAR) since 2013. At the moment, the CAR is the only country in the world subject to a ban on “blood diamonds”.

The main reason Moscow wants to end the embargo on CAR diamonds is because 90% of the CAR’s diamonds are exported through the black market.

Blood diamonds refers to diamonds mined in a a war zone, and then sold to finance war activity.

Next year, Russia will chair the Kimberley Process, a UN program designed to stop diamond profits flowing to armed militias or used to fund war. Estimates put the Kimberley Process as high as 99.8% successful in stopping the global production of blood diamonds.

If you have any questions about the Kimberley Process and how it will effect your imports of diamonds to the US, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

India says they will not join the largest free trade deal – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

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Yesterday, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced India would not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RSCEP is a proposed trade deal among 16 countries and has been discussed for the past 7 years and the subject of over 28 rounds of discussion. The RCEP was believed to be the “largest trade deal” because both China and India were expected to participate. China, India and 14-other nations in the RCEP would account for 40% of the world’s GDP.

In a public statement, the government of India cited several reasons to withdraw from the RCEP: (1) India wanted stronger wording on rules of origin, (2) change in the base year for the reduction of duties to be 2019 instead of 2014 and (3) for companies investing in India to procure a certain percentage of local input materials.

The remaining 15 countries have vowed to continue efforts to pass the RCEP with India’s involvement.

Do you have any general trade or customs law questions? Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

China’s #2, – Premier Li Keqiang eases trade tensions with the US.

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According to the New York Times, China’s Number 2 official, Premier Li Keqiang speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Chinese port city of Dalian, promised to cut tariffs, loosen restrictions on foreign investments, protect intellectual property rights and allow foreign companies to apply for China’s generous subsidies for research and development.

Speaking during a question and answer session, Li also said that China would allow foreign financial services companies into its market a year earlier than previously promised, and that it would rewrite many rules on foreign investment.

The NYT mentioned the lack of details, and indicated previous vague promises by Chinese officials in the past.

In addition to extending an olive branch to foreign companies, Premier Li’s remarks also sought to calm worries about the relocation of manufacturing overseas as a result of the Section 232 and 301 duties levied against China.

If you have questions how the China duties will impact your business, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Key 2019 Trade Deadlines.

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Happy new year everyone! Hope your new year is off to a great start.

2018 was a busy year for trade policy and 2019 will likely continue that trend. Here’s some important dates for trade in this new year:

1/1/2019 – the updated US trade agreement with South Korea signed in September 2018 will enter into force.

1/7/2019 – during this week, a US delegation will travel to Beijing for trade talks with Chinese officials. This will be the first face to face meeting since President Trump met with President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit on December 1st.

1/7/2019 – while a delegation goes to Beijing, the EU Trade Commissioner will meet with USTR Robert Lighthizer on other trade negotiations with the EU.

1/10/2019 – this is the deadline for submission of comments by US businesses regarding restrictions on high-tech American exports such as microprocessors and robotics

1/21/2019 – the US and Japan will likely enter into formal talks for a trade agreement.

2/17/2019 – deadline for the U.S. Department of Commerce to publish their report on the justification of tariffs on foreign cars. Once a report is submitted, President Trump has 3 months (May 18th) to make a decision on tariffs for foreign cars.

3/1/2019 – end of the 90-day truce started on December 1st. If no trade agreement is reached, $200 billion of Chinese goods will see increased tariffs from 10% to 25%.

4/2019 – deadline for the U.S. Department of Commerce to publish a national-secuirty report on the impact of uranium imports.

1st half of 2019 – congress will vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to replace NAFTA.

Check back for more updates as they become available. If you have any questions how these upcoming events will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US ICE seizes million websites in crackdown on

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As reported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website in late November, ICE agents seized over 1 million copyright-infringing website domain names that sold counterfeit electrical parts, personal care items, automotive parts and other fake and counterfeit goods.

The seizure was part of ICE’s “Operation In Our Sites” and roughly 33,600 website domain names were seized from 26 different countries. The press release indicates that a total of 1.21 million domain names were seized and shut down along with 2.2 million e-commerce links on social media platforms and other third-party marketplaces.

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) claims counterfeit goods such as counterfeit airbags and sensors pose a potential safety hazard to drivers. In addition to a public safety hazard, counterfeit goods also fund criminal groups and other illegal activities. ICE and HSI are part of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) center established by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. The IPR is comprised of 24 member agencies that share information, develop initiatives and conduct investigations.

If you have had your goods seized for alleged intellectual property rights violations, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate assistance.

Chinese companies retaliate against Apple following Huawei CFO’s arrest.

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Following Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s Global CFO on December 1st, several companies in China have announced new policies to encourage (and even require) the use of Huawei products instead of America’s Apple iPhone.

According to the Yahoo article – several companies in China now offer subsidies for employees exchanging iPhone handsets for Huawei and even placing a penalty on employees who purchase an iPhone for themselves. Several other companies take the boycott even further and are discouraging their employees from buying American made products such as cars.

The backlash against Apple may be due to Huawei’s position as the number 2 smartphone manufacturer in the world behind Samsung. Unfortunately for Apple, this recent backlash will only hurt their already low sales numbers in China (Huawei holds the largest share of the Chinese market for smartphones).

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.

 

US and China exchange tariff duties in trade war.

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Sorry for the lack of updates, Trump’s 232 and 301 duties have been occupying most of my time.

As you likely already know, yesterday, the Trump administration announced they will impose 10% duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, earlier today, China announced retaliatory duties on $60 billion in US goods.

If you import from China and have questions about commenting, exclusion requests or other alternatives to minimize the tariff penalty – feel free to give me a call, 832.896.6288 or email me at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Japan passes law to ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

As reported by the Kyodo News – the Japanese government enacted a law to ratify the TPP free trade deal. As you are aware, Japan and 10 other nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) continued negotiations with the free trade deal after the United States withdrew. The TPP deal requires at least 6 member countries to ratify the pact before it takes effect.

More TPP updates as they become available. If you have any trade or customs questions, please feel free to contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

China imposes new tariffs on imports from the United States.

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In response to the U.S. Section 232 tariff measures imposed on steel and aluminum products, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced their intention to impose tariffs on certain products from imported from the United States.

According to an English press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce (full text here), China intends to impose tariffs on 128 products that cover a wide range of items, from food and alcohol to oil and gas pipes.

The tariffs vary from 15% to 25% and a notice of tariffs is available here online for public comment.

A quick look at the list shows these items are subject to the increased tariffs: citrus fruits,
watermelons, dried apples, steel drilled oil and gas drilling pipes with an outside diameter less than 168 mm, cold rolled alloy steel seamless circular cross-section tubes
other fresh or cold pork, frozen pork liver, aluminum scrap, modified ethanol, and American ginseng.

For more information or if you would like to know whether your exported product will be subject to these new duties, contact experienced and bi-lingual English/Chinese Mandarin speaking attorney David Hsu now at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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