WTO ruling sets precedent for WTO authority to determine whether national-security concerns justify trade restrictions.

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According to Bloomberg on April 5, 2019, the WTO ruled on a Russia and Ukraine dispute that set the precedent for two things: (1) rights of nations to impose trade restrictions on national-security grounds and (2) WTO’s authority to determine whether a national security threat justifies trade restrictions. However, the US hold the position the WTO does not have the power to rule on these two issues.

Ironically, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo agrees the WTO should not mediate regional security conflicts, but said the cases were brought to the WTO and that the world body did not have an option.


Personally, I don’t believe China will bring a case to the WTO for the steel and aluminium duties as the US and China are currently reaching a deal. Also, if China and the US bring a case to the WTO, they would further justify and open the door for the WTO’s authority and national-security determination decision making power over any member to the world body.

I believe this WTO decision is a single occurrence likely to not happen again. The WTO is a trade organization and is not capable of understanding, addressing and enforcing regional security issues such as those between Russia and Ukraine.

Will be interesting to see what happens – will post more as updates become available.

Bi-Partisan bill introduced to block 25% tariff on imported cars.

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According to the Detroit News, U.S. Representative, Fred Upton (R) introduced legislation that would stop President Trump from imposing 25% tariffs on cars imported to the US under the premise of threats to America’s national security.

The legislation includes bi-partisan support and would require the International Trade Commission to first conduct a “comprehensive study on the economic importance of automotive manufacturing in America”.

Another argument is that the Trump administration is over stating the claim that cars and auto parts are a threat to national security of the US.

Since Trump proposed the tariffs in May of 2018, the proposed tariffs may be imposed as early as early May if the new legislation passes and becomes law.

More news will be posted as they become available.

US Kitchen cabinet companies petition for anti-dumping duties against Chinese cabinet producers.

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The American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance (AKCA) filed a petition with the International Trade Commission to impose antidumping duties and tariffs on imports of cabinets from Chinese manufacturers.

The AKCA claims the $10 billion cabinet industry is being harmed by imports of cabinets from Chinese manufacturers. The AKCA claims U.S. cabinet manufacturers have seen poor financial performance despite a 12.5% increase in the number of housing units completed in the U.S. The AKCA blames cheap imports from China for their financial decline.

The petition to the ITC by AKCA claims the kitchen cabinets from China are also sold at a below normal value and the AKCA is requesting an ADD rate of 175.5% to 259%.

If you are an importer or manufacturer of kitchen cabinets and ahve questions how the investigation on kitchen cabinets may impact you, contact attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or by text/call at 832.896.6288.

List 3 Exclusion Process?

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Last October, 10 10 senators sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) inquiring why a List 3 exclusion process had not yet been established. As you are aware, an exclusion process allows importers or interested parties of goods subject to the Section 301 duties to petition to have their goods excluded from the tariffs of 10-25%.

Earlier this week, the USTR replied indicating an exclusion process will not start on List 3 unless negotiations fail with China and the tariffs are raised on the $200 billion worth of goods from 10 to 25%. Both China and the US have agreed to a “truce” until March 2, 2019.

Will update as soon as any updates are available. If you have any trade, import, export, trade or compliance attorneys, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.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.

Taiwan – beneficiary of the US-China trade war.

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According to the Taipei Times, a beneficiary of the US-China trade war may be Taiwan. With tariffs of 10-25% on goods from China, some of Taiwan’s tech companies are exploring options of moving back to Taiwan – specifically the city of Taoyuan. Taoyuan is half an hour south of Taiwan and home to the Taoyuan International Aiport (Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Airport).

Several Taiwanese companies such as iPhone assembler Pegatron, laptop maker Compal Electronics and Apple supplier Inventec are adding capacity in Taoyuan. Even Quanta Computer is back in Taiwan seeking factory land.

30 years ago, Pegatron, Compal, Inventec and Quanta along with countless other Taiwanese companies moved to China due to lower production costs. In fact, 15 of the top 20 exporters from China to the US in 2016 initially originated from Taiwan.

If you have any questions how the 232 or 301 duties may impact your business, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com

Trump may cancel EU deal and impose 25% duties on European cars.

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According to the Express UK website, the French Ambassador to the US warned that President Trump may impose duties on European autos very soon and impose tariffs if talks continue.

The French Ambasssador further claimed the upcoming months will be a crucial time to negotiate a new deal regarding trade. This news is a 180 degree change from July – when President Trump pledged not to impose new tariffs on the EU autos while the two sides were undergoing trade negotiations. Back in August, Trump threatened 25% tariffs on European cars – claiming the taxes are too low on importer cars in the US – thereby hurting American auto manufacturers.

Check back here for all the latest news on whether the administration will impose 25% duties on European autos. For this and other trade related questions, contact 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.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce expected to present results of national security investigation into auto imports in August.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross Official Portrait

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (pictured above), will present his Department’s findings on the national security investigation of auto imports into the US later next month.

The report to President Trump could impact foreign automakers as the results may lead to the importation of new tariffs – up to 25% on imported cars and parts.

Earlier in May, the U.S. Department of Commerce started a “Section 232” investigation to determine whether imports of cars and parts pose a risk to U.S. national security. As you are aware, invoking Section 232 is the same rule Trump used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum at 25% back in March of this year.

Last week, foreign governments from Japan, Canada and the EU along with US industry groups met with Commerce to express opposition to the investigation. These groups argued higher tariffs would harm American consumers and workers along with the economy. Part of the harm would stem from an estimated increase in price of imported cars by $6,000 and price of domestic built cars by $2,000.

Check back for further news regarding the auto import tariffs as they become available.

Breaking news – Section 301 Statement by US Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and list of Chinese goods impacted by $200 billion in tariffs.

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Robert Lighthizer, official portrait, work of the U.S. Federal Government

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer released a statement today regarding Section 301 of the Trade Act.

The full statement can be read here.

Here’s a summary of the statement:
1. Last Friday, US started imposing tariffs of 25% on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.
2. Will eventually cover $50 billion in Chinese imports.
3. Tariffs are against products that benefit from China’s industrial policy and forced technology transfer practices.
4. China retaliated with $34 billion in tariffs and threats on $16 billion more.
5. In resopnse to China’s retaliation, President Trump ordered tariffs of 10% on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports.

Brief history of the 301 tariffs:
1. Last August (2017), President Trump asked USTR to begin the Section 301 process. The basis of the 301 was due to China’s”abusive trading practices with regard to intellectual property and innovation.”
2. USTR conducted investigation, published 200 page report showing: “China has been engaging in industrial policy which has resulted in the transfer and theft of intellectual property and technology to the detriment of our economy and the future of our workers and businesses. ”
3. The USTR also found these “practices are an existential threat to America’s most critical comparative advantage and the future of our economy: our intellectual property and technology.”

To view the Federal Register notice and list of proposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, click here.

If you have any questions how these 301 tariffs may impact your business, or if you would like to submit comments to the US Government, please contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.