Canada’s Global Affairs consults whether South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK should join CPTPP.

The Global Affairs Canada organization includes individuals, businesses (including SMBs), industry associations, experts, consultants, academics, civil society organization, labour unions, governments, indigenous groups, students and youth and other interested Canadian stakeholders.

In late July, Global Affairs Canada started discussions whether South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”).

An announcement was published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1. Global Affairs Canada has has begun soliciting comments for whether these countries (and China) should join the CPTPP. The deadline for submissions is midnight, August 25, 2019.

The announcement asks for the following information:

1. Contributor’s name and address and, if applicable, the name of the contributor’s organization, institution or business;
2. The specific issues being addressed; and
3. Where possible, precise information on the rationale for the positions taken, including any significant impact it may have on Canada’s domestic or international interests.

Additionally, they would like feedback on specific markets that Canadians and businesses would support entry to the CPTPP.

The full text of the announcement and additional topics Global Affairs Canada would like feedback on can be found here:

http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2019/2019-07-27/html/notice-avis-eng.html#nL5

 

Children in China forced to produce Amazon Alexa devices. Where’s the outrage?

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According to the Guardian, a leaked document by China Labor Watch details school children in China forced to work over night to produce Amazon Alexa devices. The children were required to work nights and overtime to produce the smart-speaker devices at Foxconn, an OEM manufacturer supplying Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices.

The documents delivered to the Guardian indicate teenagers from schools and technical colleges in China were classified as “interns” with teachers being paid by the factory to accompany the students. The legal age of employment is 16, but school children are not allowed to work at night or overtime.

One “intern” quoted in the report said they were applying protective film on 3,000 Echo dots a day for 10 hours a day, six days a week for $2.34 an hour. When the intern complained, their teacher told them they had to work or else it may impact their ability to graduate from school.

Foxconn admitted students were working and they vowed to take action to remedy the problem. As Foxconn is also the OEM for Apple’s iPhone, it is unknown whether school children also made those devices.

It will be interesting to see what penalty Amazon will face. Most likely there will be a disparity in punishment – for example, the Ivory Coast is facing a potential ban of cocoa to the US due to the use of child labor; but there is no discussion for a ban of Amazon Alexa products. tudying computing, was given the task of applying a protective film to about 3,000 Echo Dots each day. Speaking to a researcher, she said she was initially told by her teacher that she would be working eight hours a day, five days a week, but that had since changed to 10 hours a day (including two hours’ overtime) for six days a week.

Will post more Amazon child labor violations as soon as they become available.

US Companies can no longer do business with Huawei on August 19th.

In May, the Trump administration placed Huawei on the BIS entity list – a list of foreign organizations with whom U.S. companies are restricted from doing business with due to national security concerns. The Trump administration believes the Chinese government has influence over Huawei and that certain Huawei equipment and technology may allow the Chinese government to spy using the Huawei equipment – especially the planned 5G equipment Huawei has developed.

Even though Huawei is on the BIS entity list, the Trump administration issued a 90-day exemption to the ban, allowing U.S. companies to sell certain products and services to Huawei. However, this 90-day exemption will end on Monday, August 19th.

It is unknown whether the U.S. government will issued another extension. Given the current situation in Hong Kong and the lack of progress on US/China trade talks, the Trump administration will likely not grant another extension.

Will post any additional Huawei news as it becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns about whether your business can continue business with Huawei, contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Houston CBP finds Asian Gypsy Moths and Egg Masses on international vessel.

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Image of egg pods seized in Houston, source: CBP.gov

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agriculture specialists from Houston found two dead female Asian Gypsy Moths (AGMs) and 20 Asian Gypsy moth egg masses on the superstructure of an international vessel. CBP was notified of this vessel after they received notification from Japanese inspectors of 52 egg masses and 52 live moths before the vessel departed to the US.

The AGM’s are an invasive species that damages hardwood forests and urban landscapes. CBP says the AGM’s can lay 500-1,000 eggs that become hungry caterpillars, resulting in a potential to defoliate a million acres annually.

When vessels are found to contain invasive pests, Customs requires the vessel and shipment to be re-exported, fumigated, then returned to Houston. According to the media release, the vessel had to depart and return “multiple times” before CBP determined it did not contain AGM or their egg masses.

t of Agriculture (USDA) for identification; the agency confirmed Aug. 2 that the pests were in fact AGM. As required by law, the vessel left the port to receive treatment and to provide verification that it was free from AGM and egg masses.

The vessel had to depart and return multiple times before CBP agriculture specialists determined that it was absolutely free from AGM egg masses.

If you or someone you know has a shipment seized by CBP for containing invasive species or eggs from invasive species, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP officers seize $663K in unmarked Viagra pills.

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Image of the seized pills, source: cbp.gov

According to a US Customs and Border Protection media release, CBP officers in Mississippi seized a shipment containing 27,000 unmarked Viagra capsules.

The shipment originated from Hong Kong and was estimated to have a MSRP of $663,000. The capsules were seized due to improper marking and only after inspection were the pills discovered to contain the active ingredient in Viagra – Sildenafil citrate. Specifically, the shipment violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, prohibiting the importation of drugs that are adulterated or misbranded.

If you have had a seizure by Customs, call our office immediately, there are certain things you must do within 30 days of any Customs seizure – David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

U.S. may ban cocoa imports from Ivory Coast due to potential use of child labor.

coffee dark candy chocolate

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Last week, Ivory Coast’s First Lady and US officials met to discuss a proposed US ban on Ivory Coast cocoa. Ivory coast is the world’s largest supplier of cooca (supplying 1/3 of all the world’s cocoa supply) and the Ivory Coast government is fighting every effort to block Ivorian cocoa from entering US ports.

The use of forced child labor to harvest cocoa has been an issue many chocolate wholesalers such as Mars, Nestle and Hershey have tried to eliminate, mostly through efforts such as monitoring supply chains and certification by third-party monitors. However, the recent report by two US Senators includes evidence of continued use of forced labor and the Washington Post reported earlier in June that 2 million children work in West African cocoa farms.

The Senators believe a new ban would further increase pressure on cocoa farmers and Customs officials are authorized to ban all products from entering the US if evidence indicates the products are or reasonably indicate they are produced with forced or indentured labor.

Will post more if the ban goes through, and if you want to avoid your company facing a ban due to any future customs issues, contact experienced trade and compliance attorney David Hsu, we can audit the supply chain process prior to importation to ensure compliance, call 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Commerce issues affirmative preliminary determination in CVD investigation of wooden cabinets and vanities.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued affirmative preliminary determination CVD investigation of wooden cabinets and vanities from China, finding that exporters received countervailable subsidies ranging from 10.97 to 229.24 percent.
As such, Commerce will instruct CBP to start collecting cash deposits from importers of wooden cabinets and vanities from China. Last year, imports of wooden cabinets and vanities from China were valued at an estimated $4.4 billion. The final CVD determination is expected to be on or about December 17, 2019. A final injury determination will then be announced on January 30, 2020.
The announcement and preliminary rates can be found here.
If you have any questions about importing wooden cabinets and vanities, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Trump administration bars federal agencies from buying ZTE or Huawei technology.

black huawei android smartphone

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Last year, Congress passed the defense spending bill that included a provision barring all federal agencies from purchasing Huawei and ZTE equipment due to concerns Chinese technology contained within those devices may pose a national security concern.
One year later, the new prohibition will take effect August 13th – this prohibition also includes Chinese companies Hytera and Hikvision. Next year, federal conttractors will be subject to this prohibition, although waivers will be available to contractors on a case-by-case basis.
Huawei has challenged the ban in court but no decision has been made.

What could Apple do to reduce the tariff impact on September 1st?

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If Trump levies a 10% tariff on over $300 billion of goods on September 1st, all of Apple’s products from China would be impacted. What options does Apple have?

  1. Exclusions – Apple can apply for an exclusion of their goods that are covered by the proposed List 4.
  2. Country of origin – Apple’s major contract manufacturer, Hon Hai has additional production ability in Taiwan, India, Thailand and Vietnam and a shift to one of those countries may be possible. Samsung makes their Galaxy phones in Vietnam.
  3. Apple can ask their suppliers for price reductions to make up for the additional 10% duties.

Like Apple, other these options are also available to any company that manufactures in China. If you want to know what your company can do to lessen the impact of the potential duties, or want to know other ways to save money on duties – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US collected $63 billion in tariffs through June.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury department’s tariffs is expected to generate almost $72 billion in tariffs through June of this year. This number will likely go much higher if the “List 4” duties take effect on September 1st. On September 1st, over $300 billion in Chinese goods will be subject to a 10% tariff with a potential to increase to 25%.

Specifically, as of June 30th, the Treasury department has collected $63 billion in tariffs over the past 12 months. In contrast, prior to the trade war, the US only brought in $30 billion dollars.

The WSJ estimates the annual generated amount can be as high as $100 billion by the end of the year once the 10% duties are placed on over $300 billion worth of imported goods from China.

If you have any questions how the current 301 duties or proposed List 4 duties will impact you, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.