Canada approves USMCA trade deal.

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While the US is focused on the Corona Virus (COVID-19), on Friday, Canada formally approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the last nation needed to implement the deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The trade deal was ratified by the Mexican legislature last June, the US legislature this past January and formally ratified by Canada on Friday. The Canadian parliament is now shut down for five weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com if you have any questions about how the new USMCA will impact you and your business!

US – UK trade deal by end of the year?

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With the UK set to formally leave the EU at 11:00 pm next Friday, January 31st, both the US and the UK have expressed strong interest in forming their own trade deal expected to be reached by the end of the year.

The goal at the end of the year reflects a comment by US Treasury Secretary Mr. Mnuchin in December 31 stating he wanted an “aggressive timeline” and that “It’s an absolute priority of President Trump and we expect to complete that within this year.”

Besides the US, it is expected that the UK seek trade deals with world wide and even the EU. EU negotiator Michel Barnier mentioned that “We are looking at a possibility of a relationship in the trade side where we will have zero tariffs and zero quotas between the EU and UK.” This would be the first for any non EU party and would allow access to the 450 million people under the EU umbrella.

USMCA to be signed on Wednesday 1/29.

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

As you are aware, the Senate passed the USMCA legislation last week. According to Reuters, President Trump will sign the USMCA trade agreement next Wednesday at the White House. The Reuters article cites unnamed sources regarding invitations for the upcoming ceremony.

This new US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) wills replace NAFTA and still requires formal approval from Canada.

Contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com if you have questions how the new USMCA may impact your business.

What’s the current status of France’s proposed digital tax?

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Last year, France threatened a “digital tax” of 3% on digital revenue of big tech companies such as Facebook and Google. In response, the US threatened tariffs on $2.4 billion of French goods such as wine, cheese, and makeup.

On Monday, January 20th, France said they would delay the the tariffs for the remainder of 2020 in response to US pressure.

And earlier today, at the Davos World Economic Forum, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated the Trump administration’s claim a digital tax is discriminatory and in response, he threatened tariffs on auto manufacturers if a deal does not work out and the digtal tax is put into effect.

What’s next? Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and his counterpart, France’s foreign minister Bruno Le Maire met earlier today (Wednesday January 22nd), but no news has been released about an agreement between the US and France. Will post more news as it is released.

Senate passes USMCA, heads to Trump’s desk.

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

After passing through the House, the Senate just passed the USMCA trade deal by 89-10 vote. The new trade deal will now head to Trump’s desk for his signature.

Contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu if you have any questions on how the new trade deal will impact your business, phone/text 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US China set to sign a trade deal on Wednesday.

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On January 15th, the US and China are expected to sign phase one of the new trade deal between the two nations. The deal is 86 pages long and the full content has not yet been released.

According to Barron’s, citing a former Trump administration trade negotiator, the deal will cover 5 areas:

1.  Commitment from China to stop forced technology transfers.

2. Process for China to create judicial proceedings to enforce trade law secrets, patent extensions for US pharmaceuticals.

3. No further currency manipulation

4. Commitment by China to buy more agricultural products.

5. Use science-based risk assessment when determining whether to ban US imports.

Will post more details as soon as they are confirmed. If you have any questions about the trade deal or general import and export questions, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

U.S. House passes USMCA, next stop the Senate.

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As you are aware, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an updated version of the USMCA earlier this week. The passage by the House includes revisions to an agreement initially agreed to by the US, Mexico and Canada in September 2018.

The next step for the USMCA is the Senate, where it is not expected to be put to a vote until 2020.

What are some of the changes in the USMCA versus NAFTA?

  • If autos are to qualify for no tariffs, then 75% of the components must be manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States (currently at 62.5%).
  • 30% of the work on the vehicle must be performed by individuals making $16 or more per hour, with a 40% requirement in 2023.
  • The new agreement allows works in Mexico to unionize.
  • The definition of steel and aluminum for Mexico in regards to the automotive rules of origin includes “melted and poured” in North America.
  • USMCA will be subject to mandatory review every 6 years, if all parties agree, then there is a 16 year period for review, with subsequent reviews every 16 years.

If you have any further questions how your business may be impacted by the USMCA if and when it is passed next year, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or 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 leading the way for new trade deal with ASEAN nations.

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This week, the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are meeting in Bangkok, Thailand and one main focus will be the creation of a free-trade pact that will cover 50% of the world’s population and 40% of the world’s commerce. The ASEAN nations hope to enact the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade deal that covers a territory from India to New Zealand.
In negotiation for the past few years, the current US China trade war is pushing the effort to create the RCEP. Will post any updates as available.
Do you have any trade or customs law questions, contact your trade and customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US ends preferential trade for Thai exports.

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Earlier this week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced Friday it was suspending $1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) due to Thailand’s failure to protect worker rights.

The worker rights issues have been an issue for over the years and complaints about working conditions have particularly focused on the fishing industry in Thailand.

The loss of GSP for Thai exports are effective next April and Thailand will likely try to negotiate the issue with the US prior to April of 2020.

If you have any questions how the loss of GSP for exports from Thailand will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.