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.

What’s significant about July 1, 2020.

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With all the news coverage focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration quietly notified Congress yesterday (Friday, April 24, 2020) that the U.S.-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) will take effect on July 1st.

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

USDA allows citrus imports from China as part of Phase One trade deal.

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As part of the “Phase One” trade deal between the US and China, market access for Chinese citrus products was one requirement. However, US citrus growers, specifically those in Florida’s citrus industry sent a letter opposing the import of Chinese citrus. The main reasons for opposing citrus from China was the risk of invasive pests and diseases, specifically the fruit fly pest that may damage Florida citrus products and potentially damage other crops such as avocados, blueberries, peaches, peppers, persimmons and tomatoes.

In addition to natural risks, critics also cite the economic disadvantage of foreign competition during the COVID-19 crisis. The letter to the USDA also cited a topic covered previously on our blog – the dumping allegations of Mexican tomato growers. Florida tomato growers are already impacted by the competition of Mexican tomatoes, and the last thing tomato growers need to worry about is the risk of invasive pests from potential imports of Chinese citrus products.

Other opponents to the Phase One trade deal allowing access to Chinese citrus producers include Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Florida Department of Agricultre and Consumer Services and the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association.

While there is strong opposition to these imports, the opposition will likely not be enough to change Phase One of the trade deal.

If you will be importing citrus fruits – be sure you are in compliance, give David Hsu a  call/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

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!

Japan-US Trade Pact in effect starting January 1, 2020.

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Mt. Fuji in the background, source: Jane Chang

The Japan-U.S. trade agreement started in April 2019, and starting January 1st, comes into effect, resulting in an immediate cut in tariffs on American farm products and a variety of Japanese industrial goods. Unfortunately, the trade agreement does not include passenger cars and auto parts. In addition to a trade agreement, the US and Japan reached an agreement on digital trade. As the US pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this trade agreement was crucial for continued US/Japan trade.

Some terms of the trade deal include a reduction in import duty of US beef from 38.5% to 26.6%, with the ultimate duty rate of 9% in 2033. Other duties on cheese, wine, pork will eventually reach zero. In return, US duties on Japanese air conditioner parts and fuel cells were also removed as part of the deal.

While this current trade deal does not address import duties on cars and parts from Japan, second round talks with Washington (set for April 2020) may result in a trade deal. But the United States maintains import duties on cars and auto parts from Japan, despite strong calls for their abolition by the Japanese side.

We have been keeping up with this new trade deal, if you are wondering how it may impact your business, give us a call or text at 832-896-6288 or send us an email to David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or work official email: dh@gjatradelaw.com.

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.

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.

Treasury Department no longer designates China a currency manipulator.

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Two days prior to signing Phase One of the US/China trade deal, the Treasury Department announced they were removing China’s designation as a currency manipulator.

The Trump administration designated China as a currency manipulator in August 2019 when Trump accused China of intentionally weakening their currency to make their goods cheaper for sale overseas in light of the then-new tariffs.

Since August, the Treasury Department claims China has made promises to stop devaluation and to promote transparency and accountability.

While the August 2019 label as a currency manipulator received bipartisan agreement, this new move has received criticism from Democrat Senators who argue the label of “currency manipulator” should not be used as a bargaining tool in the ongoing US/China trade war.

As the signing date of Phase One approaches, I expect the Trump administration to release further details in multiple parts.

Feel free to contact David Hsu directly by phone/text at 832-896-6288 to discuss your China, trade and import/export related issues or send an email to 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.

US China Trade Deal as of 12/13/2019.

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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 Trump administration has confirmed a trade deal with China has been reached.

Phase one of the trade deal was just announced:

-List 1 remains at 25%

-List 2 remains at 25%

-List 3 remains at 25%

-List 4b is gone (4b was initially scheduled to take effect December 15th, and included consumer electronics such as cell phones, laptops, computers, etc.).

-“Most” (not all) of List 4a is going to drop to 7.5%.

We will monitor the Federal Register for what specifically is being reduced. If you have any further questions, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu for immediate help by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.