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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

List 3 Exclusion Process?

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Last October, 10 10 senators sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) inquiring why a List 3 exclusion process had not yet been established. As you are aware, an exclusion process allows importers or interested parties of goods subject to the Section 301 duties to petition to have their goods excluded from the tariffs of 10-25%.

Earlier this week, the USTR replied indicating an exclusion process will not start on List 3 unless negotiations fail with China and the tariffs are raised on the $200 billion worth of goods from 10 to 25%. Both China and the US have agreed to a “truce” until March 2, 2019.

Will update as soon as any updates are available. If you have any trade, import, export, trade or compliance attorneys, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com

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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com or by phone/cell/text: 832-896-6288.

Key 2019 Trade Deadlines.

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Happy new year everyone! Hope your new year is off to a great start.

2018 was a busy year for trade policy and 2019 will likely continue that trend. Here’s some important dates for trade in this new year:

1/1/2019 – the updated US trade agreement with South Korea signed in September 2018 will enter into force.

1/7/2019 – during this week, a US delegation will travel to Beijing for trade talks with Chinese officials. This will be the first face to face meeting since President Trump met with President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit on December 1st.

1/7/2019 – while a delegation goes to Beijing, the EU Trade Commissioner will meet with USTR Robert Lighthizer on other trade negotiations with the EU.

1/10/2019 – this is the deadline for submission of comments by US businesses regarding restrictions on high-tech American exports such as microprocessors and robotics

1/21/2019 – the US and Japan will likely enter into formal talks for a trade agreement.

2/17/2019 – deadline for the U.S. Department of Commerce to publish their report on the justification of tariffs on foreign cars. Once a report is submitted, President Trump has 3 months (May 18th) to make a decision on tariffs for foreign cars.

3/1/2019 – end of the 90-day truce started on December 1st. If no trade agreement is reached, $200 billion of Chinese goods will see increased tariffs from 10% to 25%.

4/2019 – deadline for the U.S. Department of Commerce to publish a national-secuirty report on the impact of uranium imports.

1st half of 2019 – congress will vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to replace NAFTA.

Check back for more updates as they become available. If you have any questions how these upcoming events will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.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.

US Trade Representative Lighthizer will meet with tech CEOs.

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According to anonymous sources, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with CEO’s from Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Oracle today in Silicon Valley.

The topics likely center around intellectual property protections, the ongoing trade war, reports of bias in news searches, emerging technologies such as 5G, AI and robotics.

Other topics could include the Trump Administration’s plan to increase restrictions on exports of new technologies to China due to national security concerns. The new technologies include AI, quantum computing, and speech recognition.

Check back for more news as they become available.

Customs seizes counterfeit Mercedez parts valued over $1.8 million.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized suspected counterfeit Mercedes Benz auto parts in Philadelphia shipped from China New Jersey. If the parts were authentic, the value of the counterfeit goods retailed at approximately $1,764,126 in value.

The shipment from Yangshan, China was labeled as “other parts and accessories of motor vehicles”. The trademarked Mercedes logo and origin of the shipment raised CBP’s suspicion of the authenticity of the goods.

Without going into detail, the CBP media release says CBP has their own inspection methods and use computer databases to find counterfeit goods that may be imported to the US.

If you had your shipment seized for suspected counterfeit of goods – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

The NAFTA (USMCA) loyalty oath?

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As has been widely reported, the new NAFTA agreement (USMCA) contains what has been branded a “loyalty oath” among the US, Canada and Mexico.

What is this “loyalty oath”?
In short, the oath says that in the event any USMCA member enters into a free trade agreement (FTA) with a non-market country, the other two remaining countries can leave the agreement and form their own bilateral trade pact.

Why is this clause in the USMCA?
This clause is likely an effort by the US Administration to isolate China economically since neither Canada or Mexico would want to leave the USMCA. This clause is also aimed at limiting the imports from China to Mexico/Canada for shipment into the US duty free.

Is a “loyalty oath” found in other trade agreements?
Currently, no, however this inclusion in the USMCA may be an indication of what will occur in future trade agreements to further isolate China from their trading partners.

Is the “loyalty oath” set in stone?
Right now, no, the disclaimer on the current USMCA text states: “Subject to Legal Review for Accuracy, Clarity, and Consistency Subject to Language Authentication“. Only upon ratification by all countries can we know for sure whether this is in the agreement.

What is a market or non-market economy?
This loyalty oath against non-market economies is likely aimed at China while not specifically named in the agreement. Beijing has asked for recognition as a “market economy” within the World Trade Organization (WTO) since their accession agreement expired in December 2016. If China is branded a “market economy”, this would limit trade remedies such as anti-dumping/countervailing duties to be used against Chinese imports.

What are the non-market economies around the world?
According to the European Union, besides China, the other non-market economies include Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Where can I read the full text of the “loyalty oath”
I could not find any news sources that cited the USMCA section.

The exact text of the oath is copied below:

4. Entry by any Party into a free trade agreement with a non-market country, shall allow the other Parties to terminate this Agreement on six-month notice and replace this Agreement with an agreement as between them (bilateral agreement).

The official PDF on the US Trade Representative website can be accessed here: (last accessed October 9, 2018).

https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/agreements/FTA/USMCA/32%20Exceptions%20and%20General%20Provisions.pdf

See Article 32.10 (4)

If you have any questions about NAFTA or the USMCA and how this may impact your business, call experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US and China exchange tariff duties in trade war.

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Sorry for the lack of updates, Trump’s 232 and 301 duties have been occupying most of my time.

As you likely already know, yesterday, the Trump administration announced they will impose 10% duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, earlier today, China announced retaliatory duties on $60 billion in US goods.

If you import from China and have questions about commenting, exclusion requests or other alternatives to minimize the tariff penalty – feel free to give me a call, 832.896.6288 or email me at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.