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

flag of canada

Photo by Social Soup Social Media on Pexels.com

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.

US China trade war update.

top view of skyscrapers

Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

According to a Bloomberg article today, sources close to the negotiations indicate the US and China are working on an agreement to phase one of a trade deal, despite Congress’ recent resolution in support of the Uighur population in Xinjiang coupled with the Trump administration’s signing of a bill supporting pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters.

The agreement will likely occur before December 15th, when the next list of tariffs are set to rise. Currently issues include guarantees of China’s purchases of US agricultural goods and which duties to roll back.

More news will be posted once an agreement has been reached. If you have any questions how the US/China trade war will impact your business, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

 

Russia trying to legalise blood diamonds from the CAR.

diamond

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

According to the Independent, Moscow claims the international ban is not working and seeks to end an international embargo on diamonds exported from the Central African Republic (CAR) since 2013. At the moment, the CAR is the only country in the world subject to a ban on “blood diamonds”.

The main reason Moscow wants to end the embargo on CAR diamonds is because 90% of the CAR’s diamonds are exported through the black market.

Blood diamonds refers to diamonds mined in a a war zone, and then sold to finance war activity.

Next year, Russia will chair the Kimberley Process, a UN program designed to stop diamond profits flowing to armed militias or used to fund war. Estimates put the Kimberley Process as high as 99.8% successful in stopping the global production of blood diamonds.

If you have any questions about the Kimberley Process and how it will effect your imports of diamonds to the US, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

India says they will not join the largest free trade deal – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

photo of woman standing on balcony

Photo by Abhishek Saini on Pexels.com

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.

ancient architecture art asia

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

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 to end Cameroon’s preferential trade status on January 1, 2020.

birds eye view photo of freight containers

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

Earlier this week, President Trump announced to Congress his decision to end Cameroon’s preferential trade status starting 2020 due to alleged human rights violations  – citing “extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention and torture”.

As of January 1, 2020, Cameroon will be removed from the list of countries benefiting under the African Grown and Opportunity Act of 2000 that encompasses 39 African nations.

Part of the move to end Cameroon’s trade status came from reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports of torture and abuse that included overcrowded conditions, torture and delayed trials.

Overall, Cameroon is the US’s 128th largest trade partner with an estimated $413 million worth of goods exchanged last year.

If you believe you will be impacted by this, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu to explore your options for exporting and importing from Cameroon after January 1st. Phone/text David at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US and Japan reach trade deal.

birds eye view photo of freight containers

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

Last week, President Trump and his counterpart Prime Minister Abe of Japan reached a trade deal to cut tariffs and increase trade between the two nations.

Part of the deal includes Japan agreeing to reduce or cancel tariffs on American agricultural exports such as beef, corn, pork and fruit – with the US agreeing to reduce tariffs on bicycles, flowers, tea and other industrial products.

At the same time, the agreement prohibits future tariffs on streaming videos, music and video games.

If you have any questions about how the new trade deal with Japan 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.

14 House Democrats ask Nancy Pelosi to bring vote on USMCA.

flag of canada

Photo by Social Soup Social Media on Pexels.com

A group of 14 House Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to to bring a vote by the end of the year on USMCA, the renegotiated trade with Canada and Mexico to replace NAFTA.

The letter to Speaker Pelosi reads:

“It is imperative that we reach a negotiated agreement early in the fall. Canada and Mexico are by far our most important trading partners, and we need to restore certainty in these critical relationships that support millions of American jobs.”

The 14 House Democrats:

Colin Allred (D-Texas)
Scott Peters (D-Calif.)
Kendra Horn (D-Okla.)
Haley Stevens (D-Mich.)
Anthony Brindisi (D-NY)
Joe Cunningham (D-SC)
Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas)
Ben McAdams (D-UT)
Josh Harder (D-Calif.)
J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.)
Sharice L. Davids (D-Kansas)
TJ Cox (D-Calif.)
Susie Lee (D-Nevada)
Greg Stanton (D-Arizona)

If you have questions how the new USMCA will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Hong Kong’s extradition law and trade privileges with the US?

aerial photography of cityscape during night

Photo by Brayden Law on Pexels.com

According to a Financial Times article, US lawmakers of the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China introduced a bill that would require the US Secretary of State to certify every year that Hong Kong remains autonomous from China. If there is no certification of that autonomy, Hong Kong would lose trade privileges with the US that do not apply to mainland China.

While the protests in Hong Kong likely lead to Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam to delay passage of the extradition bill, it is unclear whether this bill had any impact on Carrie Lam’s decision.

Hong Kong’s government argues the extradition bill is necessary to close a loophole that allowed criminal fugitives to remain in the territory to avoid criminal prosecution.

China backtracked on nearly all aspects of US trade deal: Sources.

birds eye view photo of freight containers

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

According to a report published by CNBC.com, a diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived into Washington on Friday night with edits to a 150-page draft trade agreement containing what was described by CNBC citing Reuters as “riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands”.

The CNBC report further details the changes to the seven chapter trade deal:

1. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war:

2. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets;

3. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve forced technology transfers;
4. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve competition policy;

5. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve access to financial services; and

6. China deleted its commitment to change laws to resolve currency manipulation.

The U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer viewed the changes to the China law as necessary to verifying compliance after years of what U.S. officials have called empty reform promises.

The CNBC report further continues saying the Chinese negotiators said they couldn’t touch the laws, said one of the government sources, calling the changes “major” and that changing any law in China requires a unique set of processes that can’t be navigated quickly.

Will post more news regarding the US/China trade war as they become available. If you have any questions about List 3 tariffs or have questions on what your company can do in light of these China tariffs, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.