US ends preferential trade for Thai exports.

photo of woman wearing white shirt near metal railings

Photo by 7hust on Pexels.com

Earlier this week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced Friday it was suspending $1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) due to Thailand’s failure to protect worker rights.

The worker rights issues have been an issue for over the years and complaints about working conditions have particularly focused on the fishing industry in Thailand.

The loss of GSP for Thai exports are effective next April and Thailand will likely try to negotiate the issue with the US prior to April of 2020.

If you have any questions how the loss of GSP for exports from Thailand will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Florida Tomato Exchange asks Commerce Department to reopen antidumping investigation

board close up cooking delicious

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On Monday, the Florida Tomato Exchange requested for continuation of the antidumping investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. This is surprising as the investigation was suspended on September 19, 2019, when a new suspension agreement between the Department of Commerce and Mexican growers and exporters went into effect.
The reason for the reopening of the investigation is that the Mexican tomato industry doesn’t agree with the agreement, even though they voluntarily signed the agreement last month.
While the investigation may be reopened, the suspension agreement is not automatically terminated. Once the new investigation is completed, Commerce and the International Trade Commission is tasked to determine whether or not Mexican tomatoes were dumped into the US and whether it caused injury to the US tomato industry. If there is a finding of injury, then the agreement will stay in place – if there is no finding, the agreement will be terminated.
If there is an affirmative finding, the Mexican growers have the option to withdrawal from the agreement, triggering another 90-day time frame to renegotiate before antidumping duties are imposed.
If you have any questions about this or any other antidumping and countervailing duty action, contact trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Taiwan seeks entry into CPTPP

Ship Exiting Harbor - Tony Tan

Credit: Tony Tan

As reported by the Central News Agency in Taiwan – Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she hopes Japan will support Taiwan’s admission into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Since the US’s withdrawal, Japan has led the trade initiative and President Tsai hopes the strengthening ties between the two nations will help Taiwan enter the CPTPP.
Part of this recent push could be related to the recent loss of two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies – Pacific island nations of Kiribati and the Soloman Islands. The loss of these two allies is the result of a pressure campaign by China and reduces Taiwan’s diplomatic allies from 17 to 15.

Potential US Japan deal looks to boost US agriculture exports.

selective focus photo of cheese and grater on plate

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

As promised during his campaign, President Trump withdrew the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership – leaving Canada, Mexico and Australia as the major players; opting instead to enter into bilateral agreements with individual countries.
After the TPP took effect this January, US farm exports to Japan dropped by 2% for the first half of the year, with a projected annual net farm income loss of $4.4 billion annually. This could be due to US exports of beef to Japan now subject to a 38.5% duty, ground pork at 20% and some cheeses at 40%. The lack of a trade deal has also impacted
Japan’s exporters of steel and aluminum to the US. The President has previously threatened Japan with duties on auto imports.
The US and Japan have reached an agreement in principle expect to make the trade deal official in the upcoming months.

White House trade advisor: trade deal with China will take time.

800px-Peter_Navarro_official_photo.jpg

White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro, source: whitehouse.gov 

As reported by Reuters, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in an interview with CNBC a trade deal with China will “take time and we want to get it right”.

President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 Summit to restart trade talks after the 11th round of trade talks ended this past May. As a gesture of good will, Trump did ease the restriction on US suppliers to supply Huawei with some components. However, Huawei is still on the BIS entity list and the US policy on Huawei’s 5G equipment has not changed.

Peter Navarro also tried to temper down bipartisan opposition to the easing of restrictions on Huawei by noting the ease in restrictions is limited to sales of chips and lower-tech items that do not impact national security.

If you have any questions about Huawei’s inclusion on the entity list and how that will impact your business, contact trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

The NAFTA (USMCA) loyalty oath?

green and gray evergreen cargo ship

Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com

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 Japan will negotiate a free trade agreement.

architecture billboards buildings cars

Photo by Ben Cheung on Pexels.com

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.

 

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) signed on March 8th, 2018.

 

 

Last Thursday, the 11 countries participating in the as-formerly-known-as Trans-Pacific Partnership signed the Asia Pacific trade pact without the United States.

The revised agreement known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) aims to reduce tariffs between member countries. One main item left out of the CPTPP (but included in negotiations of the TPP) are the lack of intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals favored by the United States.

According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the CPTPP will generate $147 billion in income, versus an estimated $492 billion in global income benefits under the original TPP.

Feel free to contact David Hsu for any questions related to CPTPP or how this trade pact may impact your business, 832.896.6288 or attorney.dave@yahoo.com.