CPTPP invites other nations to join.

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The 11 countries that are part of the “Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)” (formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership), have agreed to expand the trade agreement and are seeking involvement of other Pacific nations.

Last week, the first meeting of the CPTPP was held in Tokyo where Ministers and Officials from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam were in attendance.

The CPTPP issued a statement welcoming any new countries that can “meet CPTPP’s high standards and objectives”.

The CPTPP was enacted in December 2018 and proceeded after the Trump Administration removed the US from the deal. The next CPTPP meeting will be held in New Zealand and starting in 2020, each member nation will take turns hosting a meeting.

Contact our office if you have any questions how the trans-pacific partnership will impact your business. David Hsu, 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

China drafts new technology transfer law – will this be enough to alleviate US concerns?

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According to a just published South China Morning Post article – new legislation has been introduced in China that banns forced technology transfers. The draft foreign investment law was revealed on Sunday and includes a clause on protection of intellectual property.

According to the SCMP article, the newest version of the law states that “forced technology transfer through administrative measures is prohibited, and technology cooperation should be “based on voluntarily agreed terms and business practices”.

A similar law was written in 2015 but was not enacted at that time. However, given the US/China trade war and one of the main concerns on forced technology transfer – 2019 may see an enactment of the new law. Will update this article as more news peoples available.

If you have any questions regarding, trade, import, export, compliance or FCPA issues and how they may impact your business, contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US-China Trade Deadline – March 1, 2019.

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As reported by the Guardian, over the weekend, Robert Lighthizer appeared on TV and spoke regarding several trade issues:

  1. The Trump administration is set to impose further duties on Chinese goods on March 1, 2019 if a trade deal is not reached. The March 1st deadline marks the end of 90 days starting December 1 of this month.
  2. The US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer was chosen by Trump to negotiate the trade deal and Lighthizer told CBS’s Face the Nation that March 1, 2019 is “a hard deadline”.
  3. In other news, at Trump’s last meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, both sides announced a truce and delay in the scheduled January 1, 2019 increase in tariffs to 25% from 10% on approximately $200 billion of Chinese goods.
  4. In response to last Monday’s arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Lighthizer indicated the two issues are separate (trade on one side and law enforcement on the other side).
  5. Lighthizer indicated that part of the negotiations require China to increase purchases of US goods along.
  6. Other requirements for China would be changes to the rules requiring American firms to provide technology to Chinese partners as a condition of doing business.

Check back for more information as it becomes available. Also, if you have any goods scheduled under “List 3” and have questions about what the delay may mean to your imports under List 3, feel free to give me a call, 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Trump may end special trade status with Hong Kong

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According to Bloomberg – the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended Congress to reassess Hong Kong’s special trading status for sensitive US technology imports. Since 1992, the US-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 treats Hong Kong as fully autonomous for trade and economic matters even after Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. As such, Hong Kong has not been impacted by the current China tariffs and is also supported by the US in the WTO.

The report indicated that Beijing’s actions toward Hong Kong “continue to run counter to China’s promise to uphold Hong Kong’s autonomy”. The report further states that President Trump could issue an executive order suspending these privileges to Hong Kong if he believes Hong Kong is not autonomous from Beijing.

If President Trump were to revoke the special trade status with Hong Kong regarding exports of dual-use technology (technology that can be used by consumers and the military) to Hong Kong.

The Bloomberg article quoted Hong Kong legislature member, Felix Chung: “The Western community would look at Hong Kong with different eyes and may not even trust Hong Kong. The business sector cannot take this kind of risk.”

Will follow up with more updates if and when available.

Democrats demand changes to USMCA.

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According to Bloomberg – several Democrat lawmakers demand changes be made to the USMCA before they will support the new agreement to replace NAFTA. These changes will likely need to be negotiated if approval can occur as Democrats have new clout after seizing control of the House of Representatives following the midterm elections earlier this month.

The new USMCA agreement was reached at the end of September and one part of the agreement strengthens independent unions but some Democrats say the method to enforce the rules is inadequate.

Other terms of the agreement require at least 40% of car production to come from factors paying a way of $16 per hour or higher while also allowing the US greater access to Canada’s dairy market.

Bloomberg cites that Democrats may not want to give Trump a deal leading into the 2020 elections while Trump could withdraw the US from NAFTA if the Democrats do not work with him. Check back for more details as they become available.

Feel free to contact David Hsu to see how the new USMCA may impact your business: (832) 896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Trans-Pacific Partnership will come into force December 2018

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When the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was agreed to in March 2018, the largest free-trade agreement in Asia would become effective upon ratification by six out of the 11 participating countries.

On Tuesday October 30th, Australia became the sixth country to ratify the pact meaning tariff cuts will take place as early as December, almost 2 years after President Trump withdrew the US from talks. Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam have yet to ratify the deal.

It is estimated the new TPP trade deal will remove tariffs on an estimated 95% of goods traded among the 11 member countries and a combined GDP of $10 trillion.

If you have any questions how the new TPP deal may impact your business, feel free to contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at any time, 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US and Canada working towards NAFTA agreement.

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According to Bloomberg, the US and Canada are working on keeping Nafta an agreement between the US/Mexico and Canada.

Bloomberg quotes Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo as saying the US and Mexico are postponing publishing the text of their two-way trade deal in the event the US and Canada reach an agreement.

 

US and Japan will negotiate a free trade agreement.

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During the UN meeting this week, the US and Japan agreed on Wednesday to negotiate a separate bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. While Japan is part of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the agreement by Japan to negotiate may be an effort to avoid the risk of tariffs on Japanese goods to the US – especially automobiles. This agreement to negotiate is a shift from Japanese economic policy as in the past Japan has not expressed interest in talking to the US.

 

United States-Mexico Trade Agreement

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The US and Mexico reached a tentative agreement that overhauls the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Part of the agreements reached between the parties include:

  1. Stricter rules for Mexican car exports to the US – including a requirement that 75% of the content be made in North America and 40-45% of the content made with workers earning at least $16/hour (three times more than Mexico’s minimum wage). This has the goal of discouraging companies to relocate to lower wage Mexico.
  2. Mexico has agreed to pass a law giving workers the right to union representation, and to adopt labor laws that meet UN standards.
  3. Certain steel and aluminum must be sourced in North America
  4. New rules to country of origin for textiles, chemicals, industrial goods.
  5. Intellectual property, copyright holders will have copy right protection in markets of all member countries.
  6. Digital trade, tariffs will be prohibited for digital products that are distributed electronically.
  7. Agriculture, the US and Mexico agreed not to impose tariffs on each other’s agricultural goods and not to use export subsidies.

Call David Hsu if you have any further questions on the new U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Japan and Peru seek early implementation of TPP.

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According to Retuers, Japan and Peru’s foreign ministers are working on an early implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to promote free trade between the two countries. Currently there are 11 members to the TPP. While an agreement has been reached between the parties, the implementation is not yet effective until enough countries ratify the agreement.

Japan has already ratified the pact, but 5 more countries need to ratify before the TPP will take effect.

One main reason for the Japan, Peru efforts may be due the year 2019 marking the 120th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Peru.

If you have any TPP questions or other trade, import, or customs questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.