US/China trade talks amid new charges against Huawei.

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Earlier this week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and his trade team arrived in the US to begin negotiations with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. At about the same time of Vice Premier Liu He’s arrival, the US Department of Justice announced charges against Huawei for violations of US sanctions against Iran and among other things, theft of US intellectual property from T-Mobile.

Negotiations are in progress to reach a deal that could prevent an additional 15% tariff (total 25%) on $200 billion worth of goods from China before the March 1st deadline.

Since the truce, China has increased their purchases of American exports, such as soy beans and have also taken steps to crackdown on intellectual property theft. However, the US government is also requesting China open its market and limit government direction for state-owned enterprises (SOE). A change to Beijing’s economic support of certain industries is likely something that will not change.

Check back for the latest news as it becomes available. If you have any export compliance questions or have concerns about compliance with US sanctions, contact trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US/China Meeting Cancelled?

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According to CNBC, officials with the U.S. trade representative’s office were supposed to meet with their Chinese counterparts this week to try and resolve some trade differences before the March 1st deadline – but the meeting was cancelled.

An unnamed source claimed the trade planning meeting was cancelled as both sides continue to disagree over the enforcement of intellectual property rules.

As you are aware, one of the US goals with China is to ensure adequate IP protections for US companies operating in China. More specifically, US companies doing business in China are expected to turn over IP to a China joint venture as a condition to doing business in China. The US claims this has resulted in the involuntary transfer of IP that ultimately hurts the US company.

While an unnamed source said a meeting was cancelled, the White House economic advisor, Larry Kudlow claimed there was cancellation and a meeting set for next week is still on schedule.

 

Tesla applies for tariff exclusion.

According to Reuters, Tesla has applied for a tariff exemption for the Chinese made computer brain found in the Model 3.

While not mentioned in the Reuters article, the computer component is currently included under List 2 of the Section 301 duties that came into effect in August of last year.

All goods under List 2 have a duty of 25%.

Tesla’s filing did not specify the Chinese manufacturer and included language mentioning China as the only source of this product that could meet the required specifications and volume.

It will be interesting to see whether this exclusion request is approved as very few of the tens of thousands have been approved. I’ll definitely updated this if and when it is approved.

The time to apply for a tariff exclusion under List 2 has passed and there are currently no instructions for a tariff exclusion request for goods covered under List 3.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions how these 301 tariffs will impact you and your interests. My cell is 832.896.6288 or email me at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Midlevel US-China trade talks end – higher-level talks next?

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According to the New York Times, the midlevel US trade negotiators and their Chinese counterparts concluded trade talks today (Wednesday, January 10th).

No new concerns were mentioned in the NYT article. The US is still concerned about China’s purchase of US agricultural, energy and manufacturing products; forced technology transfer; intellectual property protection and concerns regarding China’s 2025 initiative.

The next step is to report the results of their talks to President Trump. As you are aware, the imposition of List 3 tariff increases to 25% (from the current 10%) occurs on March 1st (a 90-day extension announced during the “truce” at the G-20 summit in December 2018).

If you have any questions on how the Section 232 or Section 301 duties on Chinese imports impact your business, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at dhsu@givensjohnston.com or by phone/cell/text: 832-896-6288.

China drafts new technology transfer law – will this be enough to alleviate US concerns?

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According to a just published South China Morning Post article – new legislation has been introduced in China that banns forced technology transfers. The draft foreign investment law was revealed on Sunday and includes a clause on protection of intellectual property.

According to the SCMP article, the newest version of the law states that “forced technology transfer through administrative measures is prohibited, and technology cooperation should be “based on voluntarily agreed terms and business practices”.

A similar law was written in 2015 but was not enacted at that time. However, given the US/China trade war and one of the main concerns on forced technology transfer – 2019 may see an enactment of the new law. Will update this article as more news peoples available.

If you have any questions regarding, trade, import, export, compliance or FCPA issues and how they may impact your business, contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

China and US plan trade negotiations in January.

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According to Bloomberg, China and US held vice-ministerial level talks today to discuss a resolution to the ongoing trade war and are moving closer to a January meeting.

Both sides spoke on the phone and are making arrangements for a face-to-face meeting sometime next month. We’ll see if both sides can reach an agreement concerning the trade imbalance, market access, technology transfers and other trade related matters.

China imports zero U.S. soybeans in November – first time since trade war started.

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According to Reuters, China imported zero U.S soybeans in November, the first time since the trade war started earlier this year. China is the world’s largest soybean buyer and according to Reuters, sourced soybeans from Brazil to replace U.S. soybean imports.

China imported 5.07 million tonnes of soybeans from Brazil in November whereas U.S. soybean imports dropped to only 67,000 tonnes in October (a sharp drop from the 4.7 million tonnes imported to China in November 2017).

Trade in soybeans totaled over $12 billion in 2017 when the U.S. was the second largest supplier of soybeans to China. U.S. soybean imports have a duty of 25%, the same percentage the Trump administration levied on over $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Check back for the latest news. If you have any questions on how to importing/exporting or how the China duties may impact your business – contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

India postpones retaliatory tariffs on US goods until January 31st.

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According to the Economic Times, India has postponed imposition of duties worth $235 million on American goods until January 31, 2019.

The retaliatory tariffs were in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The start date of India’s retaliatory tariffs was set for tomorrow (December 17th).

The new tariffs include a 120% tariff on US chickpeas, 70% tariff on chana and 40% on lentils.

The US and India are currently negotiating a settlement on various issues – India would like greater access to the US market for their agriculture, automobile, parts and engineering while the US seeks greater access for farm and medical devices.

Check back for the latest news as they become available. If you have any questions how your company’s exports to India may be impacted or if you have questions on how to save on steel and aluminum duties from India – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

China set to resume importing oil from the US.

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According to the Financial Tribune, the trading arm of China’s Sinopec and largest buyer of US crude oil – Unipec, will resume purchase of US crude oil very soon at a significant volume.

Unipec has not imported US crude oil in August or September of this year. However, since the “truce” in the US and China trade war in early December where both sides agreed to suspend raising tariffs for an additional 90 days, Chinese refiners have started to look to the US for crude oil.