China to cut import tariffs on wide range of products.

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According to Reuters, China’s finance ministry will reduce import tariffs on textiles and metals from 11.5% to 8.4% on November 1st. Tariffs on wood and paper products, minerals and gemstones will be cut from 6.6% to 5.4%.

The reduction in tariffs on imports is part of Beijing’s efforts to increase imports this year and likely due to the current trade situation between China and the United States.

November 1st marks the second time in which China reduced import tariffs – the first reduction occured in early July and covered import tariffs on mostly consumer items – such as clothing, home appliances, fitness products among others.

US and Japan will negotiate a free trade agreement.

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During the UN meeting this week, the US and Japan agreed on Wednesday to negotiate a separate bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. While Japan is part of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the agreement by Japan to negotiate may be an effort to avoid the risk of tariffs on Japanese goods to the US – especially automobiles. This agreement to negotiate is a shift from Japanese economic policy as in the past Japan has not expressed interest in talking to the US.

 

Trump may cancel EU deal and impose 25% duties on European cars.

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According to the Express UK website, the French Ambassador to the US warned that President Trump may impose duties on European autos very soon and impose tariffs if talks continue.

The French Ambasssador further claimed the upcoming months will be a crucial time to negotiate a new deal regarding trade. This news is a 180 degree change from July – when President Trump pledged not to impose new tariffs on the EU autos while the two sides were undergoing trade negotiations. Back in August, Trump threatened 25% tariffs on European cars – claiming the taxes are too low on importer cars in the US – thereby hurting American auto manufacturers.

Check back here for all the latest news on whether the administration will impose 25% duties on European autos. For this and other trade related questions, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Trump threatens tariffs on $267 billion in Chinese goods (not a typo).

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President Trump said on Friday (September 8th) he is ready to impose tariffs on $267 billion in goods from China, on top of the current $200+ billion plus in tariffs on goods. This past July, Trump imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports in July and then an additional $200 billion in tariffs.

With the threatened $267 billion, Trump will have imposed or threatened to impose a total of over $500 billion in imports from China. To put this amount into perspective, the US imported only $505 billion in Chinese goods in 2017. In short, Trump is threatening tariffs on everything imported from China.

On September 6th, the U.S. Trade Representative finished accepting comments on the List 3 of tariffs that could impact up to $200 billion in Chinese goods.

More updates will be posted as they become available.

If you have any questions about how List 1, 2, 3 and upcoming proposed tariffs will impact your business – or how you can file comments or exclusions, contact experienced trade and customs attorney – David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

USTR finalizes “List 2” of Section 301 duties on Chinese goods – tariffs begin on August 23rd.

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The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a bulletin today finalizing “List 2” of the tariffs of Chinese products known as “Section 301” duties.

List 2 goods will be subject to an additional 25% tariff on goods from China starting August 23rd. Out of the 284 proposed tariff lines, only 5 tariff lines were removed by the USTR.

List 2 covers approximately $16 billion worth of imports from China. The Section 301 duties are the US response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.

List 1 went into effect on July 6th and covered about $34 billion of imports from China.

There is no word on when List 3 will be finalized but based on 1 and 2, I believe sometime in December 2018.

If you are importing a good subject to the 301 duties, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu for a free legal consultation on what our firm can do for you: dhsu@givensjohnston.com or 832.896.6288.

US ports first to be impacted if/when China tariffs become effective.

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CNBC on July 28th indicated US ports as the frontline in the trade war with China. Citing interviews with port managers, the CNBC article claims imposition of more duties (estimated to total over $200 billion worth of Chinese goods) will result in cancelled shipments, less container traffic and lost jobs.

One port director from Long Beach believes further duties will impact the port, the state and the nation as a whole. The LA/LB port handled $173 billion in Chinese imports last year and account for 1/3 of all the shipped goods from China to the US.

Last year, $505 billion in goods arrived from China last year with about $130 billion in US goods to China. This difference in the goods arriving versus leaving is part of the $375 billion trade deficit President Trump vowed to lower while on the campaign trail in 2016.

There are currently in place tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods that resulted in China also imposing an equal $34 billion in US goods to the mainland. If List 2 and 3 become effective, the tariffs would cover around $200 billion more in Chinese goods.

The port director in Long Beach claimed the import business supports a million jobs throughout Southern California and slowdowns in China trade could result in layoffs, leading to loss of local and state tax revenues generated by business impacted by a slow down in trade.

If you have any questions how the tariff lists will impact your business, or for a free consultation on whether your goods are on one of the three lists, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Breaking news – Section 301 Statement by US Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and list of Chinese goods impacted by $200 billion in tariffs.

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Robert Lighthizer, official portrait, work of the U.S. Federal Government

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer released a statement today regarding Section 301 of the Trade Act.

The full statement can be read here.

Here’s a summary of the statement:
1. Last Friday, US started imposing tariffs of 25% on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.
2. Will eventually cover $50 billion in Chinese imports.
3. Tariffs are against products that benefit from China’s industrial policy and forced technology transfer practices.
4. China retaliated with $34 billion in tariffs and threats on $16 billion more.
5. In resopnse to China’s retaliation, President Trump ordered tariffs of 10% on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports.

Brief history of the 301 tariffs:
1. Last August (2017), President Trump asked USTR to begin the Section 301 process. The basis of the 301 was due to China’s”abusive trading practices with regard to intellectual property and innovation.”
2. USTR conducted investigation, published 200 page report showing: “China has been engaging in industrial policy which has resulted in the transfer and theft of intellectual property and technology to the detriment of our economy and the future of our workers and businesses. ”
3. The USTR also found these “practices are an existential threat to America’s most critical comparative advantage and the future of our economy: our intellectual property and technology.”

To view the Federal Register notice and list of proposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, click here.

If you have any questions how these 301 tariffs may impact your business, or if you would like to submit comments to the US Government, please contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Tesla raises car prices in China amid potential US/China trade war.

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Reuters is reporting the price of Model S and Model X Tesla vehicles have increased by over $20,000 in China. Reuters cites the website Electrek’s report on Monday.

China already raised tariffs on U.S. car imports in response to President Trump’s move on imposing tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The raise in prices in China come after a decrease in prices as recently as this past May – when Model X vehicles were discounted $14,000. Electrek reports that 17% of Tesla’s 2017 revenue was from China sales and that Tesla estimates shipping 15,000 cars a year to China.

 

Canada announces retaliatory tariffs. Link to full list below.

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As has been widely reported on Reuters, NBC, CNN, Dailymail etc., Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the final list of items that will be subject to tariffs  of 10-20% starting July 1st.

The full list can be found here.

The list includes ballpoint pens, inflatable boats, playing cards, sleeping bags, portable stoves, toilet paper, ketchup, pizza, maple syrup etc. Seems like the only people will be the Canadian Boy Scouts! Just kidding, the list includes steel, aluminum, bovine animals; prepared meals etc.

It will be interesting to see whether these tariffs will impact the US surplus with Canada. Since 1985, the US has had a yearly trade surplus with Canada and the new tariffs will impact about 12.5 billion in goods from the US. In 2017, the US held a trade surplus of 25.9 billion dollars.

If you import or export any of the impacted goods and have questions moving forward, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

EU will vote to adopt”counter-balancing measures”on June 20th.

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At the next scheduled European Commission meeting scheduled for today (June 20th), the commission will vote on whether to adopt “counter-balancing measures” against the US.

Last Thursday (June 14th), the European Union countries unanimously endorsed a plan to impose counter trade tariffs against the US covering $3.3 billion worth of US products.

Once the vote is approved, the duties on US goods to the EU should be in place late June or early July.