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.

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 dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

TESLA drops China car prices due to tariffs.

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As reported by Reuters in late November, Tesla dropped the price of the Model X and Model S cars by 12 – 26 percent to help make the cars more affordable to customers in China. Back in June of this year, Tesla was one of the first carmakers to raise their prices in response to Tariffs.  The price increase came after a price decrease in May when Tesla lowered prices in China after Beijing said they would cut import tariffs for all auto imports.

The article also indicates Tesla is looking to speed up the construction of their Gigafactory in Shanghai. By producing cars in Shanghai, Tesla shields itself from any future import tariffs.

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post that China is also suspending the increase in tariffs on US cars, not sure if Tesla has raised the prices of their cars following the most recent December announcement.

China suspends 25% tariff increase on US vehicles and auto parts.

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According to the Associated Press this morning, China announced a 90-day suspension of increased tariffs on $126 billion of US cars, trucks and auto parts.

The suspension on Friday was likely a response to President Trump’s December 1st decision to suspend tariff hikes that were set to begin January 1st. These initial China tariffs of 25% were in response to Trump’s 25% tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

The US and China are still working on a solution to solving the trade dispute but no face to face negotiations have been set. Check back for more details as they are available.

Taiwan – beneficiary of the US-China trade war.

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According to the Taipei Times, a beneficiary of the US-China trade war may be Taiwan. With tariffs of 10-25% on goods from China, some of Taiwan’s tech companies are exploring options of moving back to Taiwan – specifically the city of Taoyuan. Taoyuan is half an hour south of Taiwan and home to the Taoyuan International Aiport (Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Airport).

Several Taiwanese companies such as iPhone assembler Pegatron, laptop maker Compal Electronics and Apple supplier Inventec are adding capacity in Taoyuan. Even Quanta Computer is back in Taiwan seeking factory land.

30 years ago, Pegatron, Compal, Inventec and Quanta along with countless other Taiwanese companies moved to China due to lower production costs. In fact, 15 of the top 20 exporters from China to the US in 2016 initially originated from Taiwan.

If you have any questions how the 232 or 301 duties may impact your business, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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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.