“Never Trump” letter denies Covington Partner of ZTE Monitorship

silhouette of statue near trump building at daytime

Photo by Carlos Herrero on Pexels.com

As reported by the National Law Journal – Peter Lichtenbaum, co-chair of Covington & Burling’s international trade and finance practice was originally set to become the compliance monitor overseeing the US settlement with ZTE Corporation. However, federal officials rescinded the offer arter learning Mr. Lichtenbaum signed a “Never Trump” letter prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Instead, Roscoe Howard, former U.S. attorney in Washington and now a white-collar defense partner at Barnes & Thornburg will be compliance monitor.

As part of ZTE’s settlement with the US government, ZTE is required to retain a team of compliance coordinators monitored by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security for a period of 10 years.

How you can protect your company in light of the new China tariffs.

three white enclosed trailers

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

Since “List 1” of the tariffs on Chinese goods became effective on July 6th, we’ve had many calls from importers, forwarders and brokers on the best practices moving forward. Here’s a quick summary of what any importer should do regarding their imports of Chinese goods –

  1. Apply for a company-specific exclusion from the tariffs. The U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has published procedures for doing so on their website. The current approved exclusions are from steel tariffs with more exclusions to follow as Lists 2 and 3 take effect likely later this year.
  2. Review your classifications of imported merchandise. There may be more appropriate HTSUS numbers that your merchandise can be entered under and not subject to duties.
  3. Companies can also use the rules of origin to see if imported merchandise can be from another country other than China. This could result from moving the manufacture location, or moving the location of the “substantial transformation” of those goods.
  4. Adjust the valuation of the merchandise. See if the imported goods are properly valued.
  5. If merchandise is imported to the US for export out of the US, be sure property TIB, IT, T&E bonds are filed.
  6. No one likes surprises – it is best for importers, compliance, supply chain, sales and accounting to notify company management of potential tariff changes and the economic impact these new tariffs will have on profit and costs.

If you have any questions or want to know how your company can protect itself from these new duties, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.