Advance rulings: limiting your USMCA import liability.

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Every importer of record needs to make declarations to Customs regarding tariff classification, valuation, origin of imported goods and more. Incorrect declarations can potentially lead to long term and expensive problems for the importer.

The NAFTA rules provided a method in which importers could seek guidance from Customs through an advance ruling to predetermine tariff classification, valuation, regional value issues, questions on qualifications of originating good, country of origin marking requirements, and more. NAFTA limited requests for guidance to only importers in the US and exporters and producers in Canada and Mexico who exported their goods to the US.

Fortunately, the new USMCA implemented several key changes. First, the USMCA not only allows an importer, but also allows an exporter, producer or anyone related to the trade transaction to request an advance ruling. Advance ruling requests are no longer limited to domestic residents.

Secondly, the USMCA agreement requires Customs to make a decision within 120 days – increasing transparency and predictability to the advance ruling process. Additionally, the USMCA also identifies the subjects that can be decided through ruling requests – tariff classification, customs valuation, origin of goods, quotas or “other issues agreed upon”.

Lastly, the USMCA offers increased protection in the event of customs modifying or revoking an advance ruling. Under the USMCA, an advance ruling cannot be revoked or modified if doing so will hurt the original ruling requester – unless the requester did not follow the advance ruling or the ruling was based on false information provided by the requester.

The best way to limit your USMCA import liability is to request an advance ruling – taking out the guesswork before the goods are shipped or entered into the US. Please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

USMCA regulations published.

As the USMCA is set to take effect in less than a month, the USTR has published the USMCA regulations on their website. The regulations can be viewed at the following: https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/united-states-mexico-canada-agreement/uniform-regulations

This is a long read and I haven’t read through a quarter of it. Will likely take me the entire weekend to go through the agreement.

In the meantime, if you have any questions how the new USMCA rules will impact your business, give me a call anytime or text, 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

EU and Mexico reach new trade agreement.

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Last week was the culmination of two years of negotiation between the European Union and Mexico to reach a new free-trade agreement. The last trade deal occurred in 2000 and that trade deal covered only industrial goods.

Details of the EU-Mexico trade agreement can be downloaded in PDF directly from the EU website here. Part of the new EU/Mexico trade deal changes include:

1. Almost all goods between the Mexico and EU will be duty free;
2. New rules on sustainable development and implementation of Paris Climate Agreement;
3. New rules on investment protection;
4. Simpler customs procedures to help boost exports.

While the terms of the agreement have been reached, the next step is to finalize the agreement, translate into EU languages and then submit the proposed agreement for signature and conclusion to the Council and European Parliament.

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.