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.

US-China Trade Deadline – March 1, 2019.

mountains clouds historical great wall of china

Photo by Manuel Joseph on Pexels.com

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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

Trump may end special trade status with Hong Kong

skyline photography of hong kong city

Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

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.

EU approves counter tariffs against US steel and aluminum.

blue and yellow round star print textile

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

In response to US tariffs on steel and aluminum, all members of the EU unanimously approved a plan to impose import duties on $3.3 billion worth of US products of steel and aluminum.

Further details will be released in 3 days as they are available and duties are expected to be in place later this month or early July (the next scheduled meeting is June 20th).

Questions, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

Trump administration considering new tariffs on imported vehicles.

audi black and chrome grille

Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

Reuters reports the Trump administration may consider imposing new tariffs on imported vehicles based under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

A little bit of background – a section 232 investigation is conducted under the authority of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended and the purpose of a 232 investigation is to determine the effect of imports on the national security. Investigations may be initiated based on an application from an interested party, a request from the head of any department or agency, or may be self-initiated by the Secretary of Commerce.

Reuters reports the administration is currently considering tariffs of up to 25 percent for imported vehicles. As this was just announced, the plan is still not yet implemented and will receive much feedback from interest groups, foreign trading partners, domestic dealers of importer cars and anyone else involved in the import car business.

Check back for the latest news. If you have any questions about the current steel and aluminum tariffs initiated under section 232, contact experienced trade attorney – David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Deal reached to allow ZTE to purchase U.S. hardware and software?

1280px-ZTE_Shenzhen

ZTE Campus in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China; By Brücke-Osteuropa – Own work, Public Domain

According to a Wall Street Journal article dated May 22nd, the US and China have reached a tentative deal on what steps ZTE could take in order for the Trump administration to remove the ban preventing U.S. companies from selling hardware and software to ZTE.

As previously mentioned on this blog, U.S. companies were barred for selling components and software to ZTE for a period of 7 years due to ZTE not complying with the terms of a 2017 plea deal for violations related to shipping US equipment to Iran and North Korea.

Citing sources close to the negotiation, the WSJ reported ZTE would need to make management changes, changes in the board and payment of additional fines.

Check back for more updates to the ongoing ZTE issue as they become available.

For any questions about denial orders, ZTE, customs or trade law, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Trump delays decision on steel and aluminium tariffs.

pexels-photo-93106.jpeg

A little background – back in March 2018, President Trump imposed worldwide tariffs of 25% on imports of steel and 10% on aluminum. Countries such as Canada, Mexico and the European Union were temporarily exempted from these tariffs.

Later in April, the US gave South Korea a permanent exemption from these tariffs in exchange for a 30% reduction of SK exports of steel to the United States.

One country not exempted was China, and as posted previously on this blog, China retaliated with their own duties on many US imports to the middle kingdom.

Fast forward to May 1st and the current administration has extended negotiations on steel and aluminium tariffs for an additional 30 days with Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Tentative agreements have been reached with Argentina, Brazil and Australia.

Check back here for more details as they become available.

Section 232 – Duties do not apply to goods coming from these countries until May 1, 2018.

pexels-photo-113885.jpeg

Until May 1, 2018, the Section 232 duties do not apply to goods coming from:

• Argentina;

• Australia;

• Brazil;

• Canada;

• Mexico;

• the member countries of the European Union; and

• South Korea.

After that time, the President will review whether to continue exempting these countries from the order.

Furthermore, the most recent customs message also says that admissions into FTZs can only be made with a privileged foreign status, which closes the previous FTZ loophole.

Any Section 232 questions? Call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.